MIAMI (CBSMiami) — It’s been a week since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. Most of the island remains without power. Food, medicine, and fuel are running out.
The Department of Defense says more than 40 percent of the population is without drinking water.
“Help needs to get into people’s hands now. Not tomorrow, not later, now,” said San Juan’s Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.
San Juan’s mayor, who’s been wading through floodwaters herself trying to help anyone she can, says, with tears in her eyes, the situation has become nothing short of a humanitarian crisis.
“When we call for help, we’re not calling for ‘give me a little bit more food’ help we’re calling for ‘give a baby some water’ help,” said Cruz.
In an interview on CBS This Morning Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello said, “This has been quite a challenge. It’s a disaster of unprecedented nature…We’re an island and resources are hard to come by so our petition is keep the help coming.”
The Pentagon says it will grow, possibly double, the 2,500 active-duty troops it’s sending to Puerto Rico but the federal response has faced criticism from people like San Juan Resident Joselyn Velasquez:
She says, “The aid is too slow. They say that it is coming from the United States, but who are they giving it to because I haven’t received any at my house?”
FEMA and President Donald Trump insist the primary issue that’s holding up help is logistics.
“It’s very tough because it’s an island. In Texas, we can ship the trucks right out there,” said Trump.
The Navy’s hospital ship, the USNS Comfort will be heading to Puerto Rico. It isn’t expected to be able to set sail from Baltimore until Saturday, and it will take three to five days to get there.
FEMA also says the main reason more money hasn’t been earmarked for recovery yet because it’s hard to tell who needs what at the moment.
Due to the power situation, Puerto Ricans can’t yet call or go online to apply for assistance.