The mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital city wore a T-shirt saying “help us, we are dying” while giving a television interview about the struggling relief efforts in the US territory.
Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, made the appearance on CNN voicing criticism that aid is not being distributed fast enough throughout the island, which has been devastated by Hurricane Maria.
The majority of the territory’s 3.5 million inhabitants are still without electricity and clean drinking water after the hurricane hit more than a week ago.
Around 10,000 shipping containers full of aid are reported to have been left languishing at the port of San Juan for days amid red tape, disagreements over how it should be distributed, and a lack of drivers.
In a press conference on Friday, Mrs Cruz emotively warned many would die if the logistic problems were not urgently solved.
She said: “What we are going to see is something close to a genocide.
“We are dying here. I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out the logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles. So, mayday we are in trouble.”
She also made a direct appeal to President Donald Trump, saying: “Mr Trump, I am begging you to take charge and save lives.”
Earlier this week Mr Trump appointed a three-star general, Lieutenant-General Jeffrey Buchanan, to bolster the relief effort as criticism of the operation mounted.
Yesterday the president defended his administration’s response to the crisis in Puerto Rico saying the government was doing an “incredible job”.
He said: “We have done an incredible job, considering there’s absolutely nothing to work with.