Ramos told CNN that about 4,000 utility workers were trying to fix the power grid and 1,000 more were expected to arrive over the weekend from the United States mainland. "We have reached out to all 78 municipalities here in Puerto Rico and we have delivered some commodities to all of them". Rossello had also noted in a tweet that Trump agreed to his request to waive the Jones Act, allowing more cargo to be shipped to the island. The fact is that Puerto Rico has been destroyed by two hurricanes.
In Washington, debate swirled this week around the 1920 Jones Act, which requires shipments of goods between two USA ports to be made with American-flagged vessels, limiting the amount of shipping and driving up its cost.
"The relief effort is under control", said Elaine Duke, acting secretary of Homeland Security.
"It's not a good story when people are dying, starving, thirsty, when people can't go back to work", Cruz told Anderson Cooper Friday night.
Outside the capital, San Juan, people said that was far from the truth. "So there remains a lot of work to do and we will work with the folks who we're working with right now, they're trying very, very hard, I will tell you that, but nobody's ever seen anything like it", he said. The houses are largely flattened, the roads are washed away. Gas stations and supermarkets are rationing supplies, while banks are running low on cash.
Overall, the island is likely to need far more than $30 billion in long-term aid from the US government for disaster relief and rebuilding efforts following Maria, a senior Republican congressional aide said on Thursday.
This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food and water.
Ten days after Hurricane Maria rammed into Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm, the USA commonwealth is dealing with a humanitarian crisis as millions remain without electricity and water, and limited access to gas and cash.
"The Puerto Rican market is so profitable for mobile operators that when they do their first phase of deployment of new technologies, Puerto Rico is always in the first group of locations", said Jose Otero, director of Latin America and the Caribbean for 5G Americas, a mobile broadband trade association based in Bellevue, Washington. "I have a call!" she cried and answered it. Rivera said he began distributing it to hard-hit rural areas.
U.S. National Guard
"I am proud of Americans helping Americans, friends and strangers alike". Officials and residents warn of disease without access to clean water.
"We need food", said Maritza Gonzalez, a 49-year-old government worker.
The White House projected confidence Thursday in its response to Puerto Rico, even as pictures of the devastation - impassable roads and long lines for fuel, water and food - continued to play out on TV screens across the country.
According to an adminsitration official, Puerto Rico's governor is in charge of the overall response, that involves a complex web of civilian and military operations. There were conflicting figures: A day earlier, FEMA said it had distributed 167,000 meals and 539,000 bottles of water. The increasing contrast between the situation on the island being portrayed in news reports and the White House is beginning to set up a credibility gap that is casting doubt on the administration's statements on the crisis.
He added that 10,000 federal forces are on the island, including 7,200 troops.
Thomas Crowley, chief executive of the Crowley shipping firm, said this issue should appeal to Trump, who says he wants to protect American jobs.
"You have FEMA personnel spread thin, you've got DOD personnel spread thin", said Sen.
The administration temporarily lifted the rule earlier this month to ensure gasoline-starved Florida received supplies after Hurricane Harvey. "But FEMA being in Puerto Rico is the not the same thing as people's needs being met". The almost century-old Jones Act bars foreign-flagged ships from carrying cargos from US port to another.