SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (CBSMiami) — It has been nearly three weeks since Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico and 85 percent of the island is still without electricity.
Puerto Rico’s governor is asking Washington for billions more in emergency relief, as residents try to put their lives back together but many are angry and frustrated because aid distribution is slow.
In the Barriada Figueroa neighborhood of San Juan, debris left behind by the hurricane has clogged street drains, contributing to widespread flooding.
Raysa Melean said the government has not helped with clearing the streets and the only time she’s seen Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz is on television. The mayor had something to say about that.
“I had to make a decision – either I open the roads in order to save lives and I use the money that I had for medicine and for food and for water…and I decided that the route to go was not a logistical route but a human route,” said Mayor Cruz.
Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello was critical of the mayor’s response and sent a team of his own to help clear the streets on Monday.
“This has been an ongoing problem that hasn’t presented itself anywhere else in Puerto Rico…it wasn’t handled by the municipality as it should have,” said Rossello.
Further complicating the recovery are allegations elsewhere on the island that aid is not being properly handled by distributors.
“If they are not providing the water and the food that is given to them then there’s gonna be hell to pay,” said Gov. Rossello.
As for concerns over debris removal, the mayor said it’s not as if nothing has been done. They’ve already removed 40 million pounds.
There are 350,000 people in San Juan and half of those people, the mayor says, are in need of food and water.
It is elsewhere on the island, where the desperation is growing, as the governor says, they are struggling to meet the most basic human needs.