Trump Announces Puerto Rico Visit As Humanitarian Disaster Unfolds

Trump Announces Puerto Rico Visit As Humanitarian Disaster Unfolds”

Much of the island is still without power. Neighbors formed volunteer brigades to cut fallen trees and clear twisty mountain roads after the storm had passed.

Maria struck September 20, knocking out power for almost all the 3.4 million residents and demolishing structures on an island already struggling after Hurricane Irma's brush earlier this month.

Many in Chicago are trying to figure out how to help their loved ones in Puerto Rico. "We're not getting the help that we need like everybody else has gotten during these crises during the last four or five months in Texas and Florida".

"There is no water and practically no food", she said.

Hurricane Maria made landfall as a Category 4 storm, with wind speeds in many places exceeding 100 miles per hour. "It seemed like a monster", she recalled. Food and medicine are dwindling, especially for those isolated by impassable roads.

"We need bus drivers, we need gas station operators and some of them have devastation and are still locked down, as well", Rossello said.

"Nothing, nothing, nothing", said 58-year-old retiree Angel Luis Rodriguez. "I'm out there saving lives". "And at the airport there's tons of aid coming in right now as well but it's just they can't distribute it because lack of infrastructure and communications".

Yet frustration remains over how quickly the federal government is responding to the crisis.

Dr. Mahoney's daughter and her friends are helping to gather supplies.

Large convoys of fuel trucks were seen traveling the highways on Monday, the first time in several days those vehicles were out in force. For most, the only visible sign of authority are police officers directing traffic, a critical service because traffic lights are out across the island.

Speaking Tuesday outside the White House, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long says the devastation wrought by the storm presents unique logistical challenges for the federal response. The shops that were open Monday had long lines outside and vast empty shelves where they once held milk, meat and other perishables.

The commonwealth of Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States.

The hospital ship USNS Comfort is expected to leave Baltimore by Saturday, and it will take three to five days to reach Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Monday that 91 percent of cellular sites in Puerto Rico remain out of service.

In addition, teams from the Army Corps of Engineers are helping to fix the electricity grid and to inspect and look for ways to avert the collapse of a dam near the western town of Quebradillas that has developed a crack and that officials have said could potentially fail. He also sent out a tweet about Puerto Rico's needs.

CHANG: Massive amounts of food and supplies - has that response been enough? "It's going to be a problem for us, it's going to be a problem for mainland as well". "They told us that we had to stay calm".

The TSA said it is bringing in about 1,100 staff members to work in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other areas affected by the hurricanes that have slammed USA territories over the past month.

United and Southwest Airlines said they are only operating humanitarian relief flights in and out of the island - no passenger flights.

Some disappointed shoppers were also sharply aware that there are others on the island in a worse situation.

On Tuesday, Trump said the recovery was more hard in Puerto Rico because of its geography.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-NY, says she is concerned that Trump's continued tweets about National Football League players show he doesn't grasp the severity of the crisis. "I feel like she can help with her being a doctor", Ashley Mahoney, Dr. Mahoney's daughter, said.

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