WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – President Donald Trump landed in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria slammed into the island and left a trail of devastation in its wake.
President Trump and the First Lady touched down Tuesday in Carolina, Puerto Rico where they met with the Governor of Puerto Rico, the Mayor of San Juan and other local and federal officials, as they begin to survey first hand the devastation caused by two hurricanes that hit the island.
The president praised FEMA officials and first responders and thanked the governor for his support saying “he didn’t play politics.”
During a briefing Mr. Trump jokingly chastised the island for jeopardizing budget resources.
“I hate to tell you Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack,” he said.
He quickly added that he was glad lives had been saved, saying the death toll caused by Maria and Irma was far lower than those who were killed as a result of hurricane Katrina.
While some residents welcomed the president’s attention to their needs, others, like Liliana Castro, question whether it will have any impact.
“I don’t think it will make much difference whether he comes or not. If it were up to me, he can stay where he is,” said Castro.
White House officials maintain progress is being made. More than 12-thousand federal aid workers are now on the island and hospitals and airports are coming back online.
“The federal government is doing everything within our powers and capabilities to first focus on the life sustaining and life saving measures as well as on the rebuilding process,” said White House Press Secretary Sarach Huckabee Sanders.
One need that remains is drinking water. Fewer than half of residents have access to it. Some have resorted to using water from a natural spring on the northern coast.
Officials hope to restore electricity to the entire island before March.