Puerto Rico fights to recover weeks after hurricane

Marsha Scott
October 13, 2017

Addressing the president directly in a statement issued in response to the tweets, Cruz declared, "Mr. President, you seem to want to disregard the moral imperative that your administration has been unable to fulfill".

In a series of tweets, the president added, "electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes".

Nearly $5 billion of the funding could be used to help the government of Puerto Rico and its local jurisdictions stay functional as they endure unsustainable cash shortfalls in the aftermath of Maria.

In the first week after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, Trump was roundly criticized for the government's slow response to provide aide.

Trump's remarks on Thursday cap those he said while visiting the island on October 3 when he said Puerto Rico's hurricane wasn't a "real catastrophe" like Hurricane Katrina and that response to relief efforts were "throwing our budget a little out of whack".

Captain Scott Miller, a spokesman for the United States military's Northern Command, which is overseeing Puerto Rico relief operations, said there had been no instructions to dial back aid.

He says at a White House briefing the USA will stand with Puerto Rico "until the job is done".

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Trump tweeted early in the morning that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the USA military and first responders can't stay in Puerto Rico indefinitely, prompting criticism from San Juan's mayor, among others. The death toll from the storm has risen to 45, authorities have said, and at least 113 people remain unaccounted for, according to Karixia Ortiz, a spokeswoman for Puerto Rico's Department of Public Safety.

Ryan, the House speaker, planned to visit Puerto Rico on Friday.

Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as the island was already struggling with a severe financial crisis, which forced the government to file for bankruptcy in May.

But Trump's tweets Thursday raised questions about whether the USA would remain there for the long haul.

Keep in mind, more than 80% of the island still doesn't have electricity and many don't have cell service or access to clean water. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the government needs to ensure that Puerto Rico can "begin to stand on its own two feet" and said the USA has "got to do more to help Puerto Rico rebuild its own economy". The measure sticks close to the White House request, ignoring - for now - huge demands from the powerful Florida and Texas delegations, who together pressed for some $40 billion more. He has promised that the island will get what it needs.

"'Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making, ' says Sharyl Attkisson", Trump posted.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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