FEMA stresses it's not leaving Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricans were alarmed this week to hear that the Federal Emergency Management Agency ...

Posted: Feb 1, 2018 10:10 AM
Updated: Feb 1, 2018 10:10 AM

Puerto Ricans were alarmed this week to hear that the Federal Emergency Management Agency planned to halt new shipments of food and water to the island -- and some assumed that meant FEMA was going to stop providing aid.

"Seriously, are they leaving?" San Juan Mayor Yulin Cruz asked on Twitter on Tuesday.

But FEMA was not planning to leave, nor stop handing out crucial supplies, the agency stressed. Distribution of its stockpiled 46 million liters of water and four million meals and snacks will continue on the island. The agency believes that amount is sufficient until normalcy returns.

Puerto Rico's Secretary of Public Safety and state coordinating officer Hector Pesquera agreed Wednesday that the commonwealth has sufficient supplies -- though he said the day before that "we were not informed that supplies would stop arriving, nor did the government of Puerto Rico agree with this action."

'The numbers just don't add up'

Meanwhile, many Puerto Ricans are still waiting for relief -- and some are skeptical that FEMA's stockpile will be enough.

"The numbers just don't add up," said Jorge Pratts, a full-time volunteer with Operation Blessing, who oversees the US nonprofit's operations in Puerto Rico. The group has distributed 35,000 water filters since Hurricane Maria hit. Pratts was in the town of Salinas on Wednesday, rebuilding a barber shop destroyed in the storm.

Pratts says he still sees people who are desperately in need of water, even in the capital of San Juan.

"The cry for help comes from fathers and mothers, people in their 60s, 70s and 80s," he said. "It's a very, very delicate situation that we're going through. FEMA is not being sensitive at all, and they're not understanding what's going on here."

'We are still in disaster mode'

Utuado, another mountainous community where Maria wiped out bridges and left communities isolated for weeks, is still very dependent on FEMA's relief aid, the mayor says.

Mayor Ernesto Irizarry says 71% of the 33,000 residents do not have power. More than 30% don't have clean water.

"For now, we have enough supplies," Irizarry said.

The mayor says they have enough supplies to last about another week, and he is confident FEMA will continue to provide supplies. But if FEMA's stockpile on the island runs out, his municipality would likely face a "humanitarian crisis."

"Utuado is not in recovery mode," he said. "We are still in disaster mode because we don't have access to basic services."

He was not able to watch President Donald Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday night because he was meeting with a struggling community in Utuado that still does not have access to clean water. Irizarry wasn't surprised that Trump only mentioned Puerto Rico once in his speech and didn't recount any stories from the island like he mentioned from wildfires in California and Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

"He does not know Utuado," Irizarry said. "They didn't take him to towns like Utuado during his visit. They took him to Guaynabo that will never compare to the devastation in my town."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604509

Reported Deaths: 7638
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1249671779
Ramsey52513897
Dakota46840471
Anoka42774458
Washington27428291
Stearns22557225
St. Louis18138313
Scott17551136
Wright16379149
Olmsted13399102
Sherburne1202095
Carver1067448
Clay826192
Rice8202110
Blue Earth762644
Crow Wing681795
Kandiyohi667985
Chisago619952
Otter Tail585884
Benton582998
Goodhue483874
Douglas475581
Mower470533
Winona461351
Itasca459763
Isanti440064
McLeod430661
Morrison424762
Beltrami407861
Nobles407650
Steele397816
Polk389072
Becker386755
Lyon363853
Carlton353056
Freeborn347033
Pine334923
Nicollet331245
Mille Lacs311854
Brown307840
Le Sueur297326
Cass286232
Todd285633
Meeker263443
Waseca238023
Martin235332
Roseau211221
Wabasha20793
Hubbard196641
Dodge18783
Renville182446
Redwood176539
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena163323
Fillmore157610
Faribault154719
Chippewa154038
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138937
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122712
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine114920
Pope11306
Murray107110
Swift106918
Koochiching95418
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Lake83220
Wilkin83213
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5948
Lincoln5853
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48193
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 371101

Reported Deaths: 6053
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58263640
Linn21221339
Scott20308248
Black Hawk16157312
Woodbury15240230
Johnson1462385
Dubuque13510211
Dallas1129199
Pottawattamie11228174
Story1071648
Warren583791
Clinton561593
Cerro Gordo554095
Sioux517574
Webster515894
Muscatine4882106
Marshall486976
Des Moines467672
Wapello4338122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421172
Plymouth403181
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones300957
Henry294637
Bremer288461
Carroll287152
Boone268634
Crawford268240
Benton259855
Washington257351
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232651
Jackson225242
Clay216727
Kossuth216166
Tama212071
Delaware211143
Winneshiek198735
Page194522
Buchanan194033
Cedar192423
Hardin187544
Fayette186643
Wright186040
Hamilton181951
Harrison180073
Clayton171057
Butler166335
Madison164619
Mills163824
Floyd163442
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157036
Allamakee152952
Hancock150334
Iowa149824
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138913
Grundy137233
Emmet135841
Jefferson133535
Shelby131837
Sac130920
Union130035
Louisa129649
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124917
Franklin123523
Guthrie123332
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113623
Howard105022
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
Keokuk96732
Monroe96431
Unassigned9540
Ida91535
Adair87332
Pocahontas85822
Davis85225
Monona82931
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7618
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Ringgold56424
Van Buren56318
Wayne54423
Audubon53311
Adams3444
Rochester
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 63°
Mason City
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 64°
Austin
Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 66°
More storm chances this week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events