Puerto Rico aid rolling in, still ‘logistically challenging’

Oct. 1 (UPI) — Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló on Sunday said aid has begun rolling into the island, though federal officials said recovery efforts were still “logistically challenging” 11 days after Hurricane Maria made landfall there.

Rosselló told reporters that Puerto Rico received fuel and food supplies and more government workers arrived to assist efforts. He said there were about 6,400 Department of Defense workers on the island, up from 4,600 two days prior.

“We need to do a lot more in order for us to get out of the emergency,” he said in San Juan. “But the other thing that’s also true is that the administration has answered and has complied with our petitions in an expedited manner.”

He offered praise for the federal government as the rhetoric grew heated between President Donald Trump and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz over the previous two days. The mayor on Friday pleaded for federal assistance, saying the people of Puerto Rico were being killed “with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy.”

“I am done being polite. I am done being politically correct. I am mad as hell,” she said.

Trump fired back with a series of tweets Saturday, calling her leadership “poor.”

“The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” he said.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long said he wanted to shift the focus to helping the people of Puerto Rico.

“The problem is information is being misrepresented across the board,” he said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “I think we have to filter out the noise.”

Brock said the recovery in Puerto Rico is “the most logistically challenging event that the United States has ever seen.”

Rosselló said more than 720 of Puerto Rico’s 1,100 gas stations were reopened as of Sunday morning, though there was still still a distribution problem. Eleven percent of cellphone towers were back in operation and 5 percent of the electrical grid was working.

All but two of the island’s dialysis centers were operating and nine hospitals had regular electricity, which dozens others operating off generator power.


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