Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Says Trump Administration Neglected Puerto Rico
The mayor of San Juan says that the US hasn’t adequately responded to the disaster that befell Puerto Rico last year, just as President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency with his wife, Melania, to be briefed on the upcoming hurricane season.
Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said that the Trump administration — which defended its Puerto Rico response on Tuesday — has largely failed the island, and a recent study by Harvard showing that the death toll on the island is as much as 70 times higher than the government’s official estimate illustrates that fact.
“The fact is that the Trump administration’s bureaucracy and neglect created a climate of inefficiency that cost lives. Their inability to meet our needs and their lack of empathy continues to be responsible for the slow pace of our recovery,” Ms Cruz told Yahoo News, adding, “If they think they did everything they could, they are admitting they did not do enough. They cannot acknowledge the hundreds and thousands dead because those lost souls are irrefutable proof of their inadequate response.”
“The information … is public by nature,” Judge Lauracelis Roques wrote in that order this week. “People still don’t have a clear picture as to how many lives were lost due to a lack of food, medicine, health services or simply because of an ineffective response to an emergency. That’s why it’s urgent to shed light on all components of government preparedness and response.”
In response to a request for comment, a FEMA spokesperson told The Independent that “FEMA will be in Puerto Rico for years to come, supporting Puerto Rico and their recovery goals. Recovery progress continues with the full support of FEMA and the federal government,” but did not otherwise comment on Ms Yulin Cruz’s comments or the death toll estimates.
“Last year’s hurricane season was historic, but so has been the effort by FEMA and our numerous federal, state and local partners,” the spokesperson said. “To date FEMA has provided more than $1.3 billion in support to survivors of Hurricane Maria and obligated more than $2.2 billion of support to Puerto Rico for Public Assistance projects.”
A request for comment sent to the White House was not immediately returned.