SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Reuters) – The mayor of the capital of Puerto Rico hit back on Friday at the comments of a top U.S. official who said federal efforts to help the territory recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria is “a good news story.”
“This is a ‘people are dying story,’” Carmen Yulin Cruz told CNN on Friday. “This is a life-or-death story.”
Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, who is helping coordinate U.S. help after Maria, said on Thursday she was satisfied with the response so far.
“I know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane,” Duke said.
Maria, the most powerful storm to hit Puerto Rico in nearly 90 years, has killed at least 16 people on the island and more than 30 across the Caribbean.
In Puerto Rico, where most of the island’s 3.4 million residents faced a 10th day without power and struggled to find clean water and fuel, Cruz bristled at Duke’s comment.
“I would ask her to come down here and visit the towns and then make a statement like that,” said Cruz. Duke is scheduled to visit Puerto Rico later on Friday.
President Donald Trump defended his administration’s handling of the disaster.
”Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello just stated: “The Administration and the President, every time we’ve spoken, they’ve delivered …,” Trump tweeted early on Friday.
Rossello told CNN on Friday the federal government has responded to his requests and that he was in regular contact with the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but more needed to be done.
“We are maximizing all of the resources that we have so that we can deliver goods, water food and supplies,” he said. “We do have severe logistical limitations. It has been enhancing but it’s still nowhere near where it needs to be.”
LONG ROAD BACK
Cruz acknowledged Trump’s help, but…