United States president Donald Trump today waived a law that had been limiting the number of boats that can deliver aid to Puerto Rico-eight days after hurricane Maria devastated the island. Their first goal is to make sure people have clean water to drink and plenty of food.
She said the two exchanged information to try and get the two people back to America on a plane. Because Puerto Rico is a territory of the USA, its citizens are American citizens, too - free to locate anywhere in the country they wish. "But it is a process in place to help rebuild the infrastructure and the power grids are shut down".
Though the island is still reeling from the hurricane, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm over a week ago, Trump has spent an inordinate amount of his attention following the storm on the private interests set to profit, or at least recover their losses, following the disaster. Relief supplies are sitting on docks because there are not enough trucks to take them to the hardest-hit areas.
"I have not seen any federal help around here", Javier San Miguel, a 51-year-old accountant, said.
This year's hurricane season, however, has exposed a different weakness in US disaster relief: preparing rapid response efforts for the residents of USA territories after natural disasters.
He also raised again the issue of Puerto Rico's $72 billion debt, which has forced the island's government to accept a federally appointed oversight board that effectively controls fiscal policy.
The Virgin Islands' 103,000 residents had been receiving vital help and shipments from Puerto Rico - until Hurricane Maria ravaged that territory. The law dates back to the aftermath of World War I, when the U.S. shipping industry was suffering damage to its fleet caused by German U-boats.
"It is meant to ensure we have enough fuel and commodities to support lifesaving efforts, respond to the storm, and restore critical services and critical infrastructure operations in the wake of these devastating storms", Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, said in a statement.
On Twitter on Friday, Trump also continued to tout his and his administration's response, relaying that Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló had said: "The administration and the President, every time we've spoken, they've delivered".
Duke is among those in the Trump administration who is praising the government's response.
Trump's administration has come under pressure for what critics said was a slow federal aid response to Puerto Rico, compared with other hurricane-hit areas on the USA mainland during a season of exceptionally powerful storms.
But retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, who commanded military relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said the military deployments come four days too late.