Tags: puerto rico | hurricane maria | need help | ricardo rossello

Puerto Rico Governor: We Are 'Proud' US Citizens and Need Help


By    |   Tuesday, 26 September 2017 10:11 AM

Puerto Ricans are "proud U.S. citizens" and need and deserve help in its recovery efforts after being hit not once, but twice by Category 5 hurricanes this past month, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Tuesday.

"About a week and a half ago Puerto Rico served as the platform to save other U.S. citizens that were in harm's way in the islands," Gov. Ricardo Rossello told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "I want to make a call now. In that moment, we fed them. We gave them shelter, even as we were going out of devastation of our own. Now it's time to help the U.S. citizens that live in Puerto Rico."

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, appearing on CNN's "New Day," described her city and the entire island territory as being in a desperate situation following a direct strike by Hurricane Maria, which followed a hit from Hurricane Irma as it made its way to Florida.

"We have been canvassing one by one all of our elderly homes, and I'm not kidding, we have to transfer 11 of them in near-death conditions," Cruz told CNN's "New Day" program. "No food. No water. No electricity. The sanitary conditions were deplorable."

There is aid coming in, so people are feeling like they are not alone and can make it, but on Monday, rescuers were not able to get to two people in time, Cruz said.

"Hospitals are losing their diesel," she said. "When they get diesel it's for one day only and places for people with disabilities also are losing power in terms of whatever power they can get from diesel, so we have a humanitarian crisis in our hands right now. We must, one, pull together, and two, be able to set up all the logistics for distributing,"

Cruz said FEMA has been "wonderful," leading to a tweet from President Donald Trump promising more food and water are on the way.

But the devastation is a "massive endeavor" and there is a humanitarian crisis island-wide, Cruz said.

"In the southern part, there was a town that lost five bridges," Cruz said. "There's thousands and thousands of people that are getting now going back to their homes and noticing that I don't have a home to go back to."

San Juan is more of a rural environment, the mayor explained, and there are still many people who have not been found, and the people who are being found are in a dangerous situations.

"We are finding dialysis patients that have not been able to contact their providers," she said. "We are having to transport them in near death conditions . . . we are in a desperate, desperate search for people anywhere, and the only way to do that is to canvas every structure you can get your sights on."

Trump has tweeted about Puerto Rico's infrastructure being in part to blame for the devastation, and Cruz pointed out that the undertaking is difficult because the territory is on an island.

"One topic is the massive debt, which we know we have and it's been dealt with, but you don't put debt above people, you put people above debt," Cruz said. "You know, the 60 percent of the people in Puerto Rico are below the poverty line. So this is a population that does not have a lot of spending money, and they are doing their best."

Rossello said he's asking for something simple: More help.

"We need more help with resources. We need more help with people being deployed so we can get logistical support elsewhere, and we need Congress to take action so we can have an aid package that is real for the American citizens that live in Puerto Rico and that's flexible. We're willing to do it. This is unprecedented. We're going to need more help."

Water and food are available, he said, but must be gotten to the people more quickly. There is also fuel, but deployment is difficult. The territory's power grid has also been devastated, leaving most of the island dark for nearly a week.

"Right now we've energized two critical areas," Rossello said, including one with two hospitals. In addition, the ports are open, but matters are just going to get more complex.

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Puerto Ricans are "proud U.S. citizens" and need and deserve help in its recovery efforts after being hit not once, but twice by Category 5 hurricanes this past month, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Tuesday.
puerto rico, hurricane maria, need help, ricardo rossello
Tuesday, 26 September 2017 10:11 AM
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