FROM Armando Valdés-Prieto
In Puerto Rico, still no sense of relief President Trump says Puerto Rico was a disaster before Hurricane Maria hit the island almost a month ago. At least 48 people have died, and 85% of the residents are still without power. In one small town, west of the capital, San Juan, people are drinking from a well that's marked, "Danger," because it's potentially contaminated by a Superfund Site. The slow pace of federal relief has created outrage. Many younger people have already moved away, leaving the sick and elderly behind. Late last week, New York Democrat Nydia Velazquez, the first person of Puerto Rican descent elected to Congress, addressed President Trump's tweets that the island was a disaster before it was hit by Maria. We hear from San Juan -- and talk to a woman who's heading home to assist her family in Puerto Rico, instead of planning for her upcoming wedding.
President Trump's consolation tour In the aftermath of disaster, the President of the United States is traditionally the "Uniter-in-Chief." But Donald Trump is often called "The Divider." His Administration stepped up after Hurricanes hit Texas and Florida. Today, the President is mourning victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. But yesterday in Puerto Rico, he continued to minimize the damage and loss of life after Hurricane Maria devastated the home of 3.4 million American citizens. Are officials keeping the death toll artificially low? Why has the US military been so late to arrive?
The president visits Puerto Rico post-Maria President Trump's in Puerto Rico, surveying the devastation from Hurricanes Irma and, especially, Maria, and the plight of 3.4 million American citizens. He said San Juan's Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz has backed away from criticizing federal efforts, and had kind words for Governor Ricardo Rossello, thanking him for not playing politics. Attorney and political strategist Armando Valdés Prieto says there is concern that what the president's seeing is not representative of the real disaster.
The watchword in Puerto Rico? Survival! It's been a week since Hurricane Maria became the second storm to hit Puerto Rico — leaving a devastated island behind. The humanitarian crisis gets worse by the day. There's not enough water and people are dying. There's been concern that the federal help's not coming soon enough, but yesterday President Trump didn't buy that, calling the federal response "great" and "amazing." But a week after the island lost all electrical power FEMA is just getting up to speed. There's already talk of rebuilding, but we hear that many people are still isolated while others feel "hopeless." Still others are lined up to move to the mainland, where there's a growing awareness of the obvious: native Puerto Ricans are American citizens.
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