Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CBS just two days ago that thousands of shipping containers with food, water and medicine are just sitting in the port of San Juan not being distributed. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is disputing those claims.
On Friday morning, Deputy FEMA Administrator Daniel Kaniewski told CNN that the containers in the San Juan port likely hold retail goods and not hurricane relief supplies.
“There are millions of meals and millions of liters of water that are on the island right now that are in the process of being distributed,” Kaniewski said during a live interview. “Now, we’ve seen video images of cargo containers sitting in the port. I can assure you that those are not FEMA containers. Those are retail goods that have probably been sitting there for days or weeks.”
“FEMA containers and commodities are going and have been received at regional distribution centers,” Kaniewski continued. “Those regional distribution centers then distribute it to the 78 municipalities” that make up Puerto Rico.
The Washington Post similarly reported on Thursday that some of those containers sitting in port were filled with commercial goods for stores such as Home Depot and Walgreens. Jose Ayala, vice president for Puerto Rico services at the Crowley shipping company, told the paper that post-Hurricane Maria, “there is damage to the trucking infrastructure” that normally moves the goods from the port to supermarkets and stores.
FEMA’s claims stand in stark contrast, however, with what CBS reported on Wednesday. The media outlet said that it had found 3,000 shipping containers sitting in the port with enough supplies to help half a million of the 3.5 million Puerto Ricans desperate for relief more than a week after Maria hit.
And CNN reported that Ayala estimated at least 10,000 containers of supplies ― including food, water and medicine ― were lingering at the docks.
Rosselló said supplies in the port…