Trump official calls Puerto Rico response "a good news story"

Trump official calls Puerto Rico response

Several Puerto Ricans contacted by CNN stood up for San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who apparently provoked the Trump tweet with a call for more aid, and many said the Puerto Rican community at home and overseas is already working together.

Only 11 of the 69 hospitals on Puerto Rico had access this week to either electricity or fuel for backup generators, as the USA territory seeks to recover from the extensive damage caused last week by Hurricane Maria.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the FDA since May, arrived on Puerto Rico Friday to survey the situation and talk with pharmaceutical executives on the island.

Homeland Secretary Elaine Duke had said she was "very satisfied" with progress, calling it "a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people".

Across town in a warehouse district, pallets filled with water bottles, paper goods and nonperishable foods draw volunteers sorting and packing the items.

But San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz heatedly denied that.

"They are working so hard but there's nothing left", he said.

This isn't to say the situation is not perilous in Puerto Rico.

"If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying", Cruz said.

"Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose parents moved to NY from Puerto Rico, took his shot on Twitter, saying: "You're going straight to hell, @realDonaldTrump".

On Thursday, the President placed US Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan in overall command of military operations to aid Puerto Rico in recovering from the storm.

Cruz called on Trump to make sure the effort is being led by someone "up to the task of saving lives". In the days after the hurricane, non-profits have been raising money for relief, and even celebrities began helping Puerto Rico, more so than one particular person whose literal job it is to help.

"I'm fighting to save lives - that's it", Cruz said.

Of all the problems unleashed by the storm, which roared over the island September 20 as a Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 155 miles per hour, the plight of overtaxed hospitals and smaller clinics - and health care in general - is one of the most worrying for officials grappling with recovery efforts.

He sees scenes of desperation every day, like the food handout in a western Puerto Rican community on Friday where a young boy walked away with four bottles of water and a can of Pringles potato chips.

Trump said he was not aware of Duke's "good-news" remark. She also said the White House was responding to a request from Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello, and that the waiver "will go into effect immediately". "This is a people-are-dying story".

Buchanan, a three-star general appointed by the Pentagon to lead the US military response to relief efforts in the USA territory, said the recovery and aid will "take time" to materialize. "Just as we've done for Texans, Louisianians and Floridians impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, we will not ignore Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in their time of desperate need".

On the eastern side of Orlando, in a heavily Puerto Rican community, donations are pouring in from people anxious about family on the Caribbean island ravaged by Hurricane Maria. I'm holding it very well because I'm a strong person.

Most of St. Croix, the largest of the three major islands in that territory, remained without electricity and cellular communications nine days after Maria struck. Later, they turned their attention to shipping supplies to the Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma and now they are focused on Puerto Rico.

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