Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, and relief efforts have been slowed down by the physical barriers of flooding, fallen trees, and destroyed infrastructure. The limited movement caused by these challenges has led to accusations of negligence by detractors of the Trump administration.
Internal issues with Puerto Rican elected officials is also hindering the recovery work. According to the Daily Caller, the US federal prosecutor in Puerto Rico is now investigating government officials who did not deliver hurricane relief to the island’s residents. There is even a case of one Puerto Rican politician who was hoarding relief supplies exclusively for the people who “voted for that person.”
This news strengthens claims that the federal government is working professionally to restore basic needs and quality of life to the Puerto Rican people in as orderly a way as possible, but that on-the-ground factors make recovery challenging.
Rosa Emilia Rodriguez, the US federal prosecutor in Puerto Rico, said on Sunday: “This morning we received information from a town on the Island where a person close to the municipal administration was asking one of our federal agents that the supplies that were there could not be touched because they were for his mayor.”
Another source told Rodriguez that a local elected official was hiding supplies meant for the general public, keeping them away for residents “who had voted for that person.”
This information arose as a result of an investigation opened at the request of Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosello, who received reports saying FEMA supplies sent to some mayors were not being distributed to the people.
Rodriguez lamented that local politicians are allegedly abusing their power during a time of crisis. “This is not the time to do politics … this is the time to help and to be kind to others,” she said. “This is a tragedy and nobody should take advantage of the aid.”
The prosecutor did not reveal which towns were experiencing the abuse. “The first is from the north and the other is from the central region; and another is the metropolitan area. I can’t mention who these people are, because it could affect the investigation.”
According to the Miami Herald, the US Department of Defense has taken over the distribution of hurricane relief from local government officials because mayors have not been properly distributing relief containers at staging sites. Now, 10-20 soldiers are being posted to every staging site and directly delivering supplies to every neighborhood.
After highly regarded responses to Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida, President Trump has been heavily criticized by the political Left over what has been perceived as inadequate help for the American territory. Nevertheless, the federal government has provided massive aid to the island.
As Christian News Alerts notes, the relief operations are being supervised by a 3-star Army General. There are over 10,000 relief and rescue workers on-site, and millions of meals and liters of water have been sent.
Although flooding, crumbled infrastructure, and blocked roads continue to get in the way of restoring electricity, federal response teams are helping hospitals during power outages by flying them onto the USS Comfort for treatment.
The Puerto Rican government was ill-prepared for the powerful storm. But the Trump administration’s recovery response is making progress, in spite of local leaders.