Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

3,000 dead, but Trump hails Hurricane Maria response as ‘unsung success’

3,000 dead, but Trump hails Hurricane Maria response as ‘unsung success’

"I actually think it was one of the best jobs that's ever been done with respect to what this is all about".

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has been a vocal critic of the administration's handling of the storm, cast blame on the federal government for failing to provide adequate assistance in the aftermath of the storm.

"The administration killed the Puerto Ricans with neglect", she added.

Cruz criticized Trump in a series of tweets, including one that said, "If he thinks the death of 3,000 people (is) a success God help us all".

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About 20,000 pallets of water bottles shipped to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island previous year went unused and eventually became too contaminated to drink, officials from the US territory said on Wednesday. The storm is also estimated to have caused $100 billion in damage. Puerto Rico's electrical grid, which Trump correctly says was already in bad shape before Maria landed, was knocked out by the storm. "We were 'buying" water because they wouldn't give it to us". "If we were another state, the response would have been much faster".

San Juan, Puerto Rico is a two and a half hour plane ride from Miami. From Sept. 30 to October 7, not one of those checks was approved.

Ottmar Chavez, now administrator of Puerto Rico's General Services Administration, said FEMA reported that it had about 20,000 pallets of bottled water in excess in May this year, before Chavez was appointed.

For Maria, there was a large gap between when the first loan was approved and when loans started ramping up. That was before a recent study found 2975 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria.

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Overall, compared with Harvey and Irma, Maria saw more funds loaned to homeowners rather than business owners.

Puerto Rico's governor last month raised the USA territory's official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975. He said some of it was distributed but people complained that it smelled bad.

"Now is not the time to pass judgement; it is time to channel every effort to improve the lives of over 3 million Americans in Puerto Rico", he added.

The report found Puerto Rico's emergency-supply warehouses were almost empty when Hurricane Maria hit in October, without things like cots or tarps, because numerous supplies had been rerouted to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Its unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Inland winds could lead to spotty power outages, but more extended outages lasting possibly for weeks are expected at the coast.

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