Puerto Rico fights major humanitarian crisis after Hurricane Irma

World Today

The devastated U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is fighting a major humanitarian crisis. Aid relief has not reached some municipalities, while politics is getting in the way of recovery efforts.

CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez reports.

When it rains, it literally pours. A tropical wave over Puerto Rico delivers even more rain to the already devastated island.

Recovery is still moving slow. The lines for fuel are a common sight and most of the island remains in the dark, and many residents of the mountain region feel abandoned.

Solia Romero lives in Isabela. She suffered a stroke and is hard for her to walk.

“No one has come to help me,” Romero said. “No one from government has been here. I cleaned and organized whatever I could.”

In the town of Isabela, they are eating whatever local vegetable roots they can find.

“I am helping the woman that lives next to me,” resident Lydia Rodriguez said. “I help her in any way I can. Sometimes I bring her to my place because she has no one.”

On Saturday, U.S. President Trump took to twitter and lashed out at the mayor of the island’s capital and others saying: “They want everything done for them, when it should be a community effort.”

The U.S. president also attacked San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz after she criticized the federal response to Hurricane Maria.

On the ground, the community is doing whatever they can to help each other. For them, it’s about survival, not politics.

“I took the tank from my house,” resident Milton Santiago said. “I have a water well so I decided to fill it up and came down here to help friends and whoever needs it.”

Puerto Rico’s governor Ricardo Rossello said that food distribution has increased and that more ships from the federal government have arrived with 2.4 million liters of water and 1.3 million servings of food.

Local residents hope this aid gets to them before it’s too late.