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CBS Reporter Finds 3,000 Containers Of Food, Water, Medicine Sitting At Puerto Rico Port Since Saturday


CBS Reporter Finds 3,000 Containers Of Food, Water, Medicine Sitting At Puerto Rico Port Since Saturday

As millions of desperate Puerto Ricans remain without power and drinking water a week after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, CBS News reporter David Begnaud discovered 3,000 containers packed with food, water, and medicine that have been sitting idly in the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico since Saturday.

A clearly angered Begnaud reports that port officials say the containers are ready to be picked up but they are having trouble finding truck drivers to come pick them up.

Criticisms of the Trump administration’s response to the growing humanitarian crisis continue to mount as the island’s residents grow desperate for any signs of hurricane relief and a coordinated federal response.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz broke down during a TV interview on Tuesday, saying people on the island are in a “life and death” struggle.”

“I know that leaders aren’t supposed to cry and especially not on TV, but we are having a humanitarian crisis,” Yulín Cruz told WUSA-TV. “It’s life or death, every moment we spend planning in a meeting or every moment we spend just not getting the help we’re supposed to get, people are starting to die.”

Close to 100% of the island’s 3.4 million US citizens are still without power and fewer than 300 of the island’s 1,600 cellphone towers were up and running as of Sunday.

Business Insider adds:

Puerto Rico has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the US. The latest estimates suggest that roughly 16% of Puerto Ricans have diabetes, compared with about 10% of the rest of the US population.

Insulin, the hormone that regulates blood-sugar levels and can be taken intravenously, must be refrigerated and can be kept at room temperature (up to 77 degrees Fahrenheit) for only 28 days, according to the Independent Diabetes Trust. Even evening temperatures in Puerto Rico have exceeded that level most days since the storm.

“The problems are compounded by the fact the heat and humidity are overwhelming, even by Puerto Rican standards,” Diego Ramirez-Bigott, a longtime resident of the Ocean Park neighborhood of San Juan, told Business Insider via Facebook message after our call with him was dropped.

President Trump on Tuesday told reporters at the White House that it’s difficult to deliver hurricane aid to Puerto Rico because it’s in the middle of a “very big ocean.”

“We’ve gotten A-pluses on Texas and in Florida, and we will also on Puerto Rico,” Trump said. “But the difference is this is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean. It’s a big ocean, it’s a very big ocean. And we’re doing a really good job.”

Trump said that damage on the ground prevents any earlier travel to the island, which he said has been “literally destroyed.”

Puerto Rico’s governor Ricardo Rosselló is pleading for additional help and resources, urging Congress to pass an aid package so it can continue its recovery efforts.

“We need more help. We need more help with resources. We need more help with people being deployed so that we can get logistical support elsewhere,” Rosselló said.

At the Canovanas Medical Center, doctors are facing a shortage of supplies.

Dr. Norbert Seda told CNN they were running out of fuel for the generator and had only two or three days of medicine and supplies left.

“We’ve seen a lot of trauma,” Seda said. “We need medication, antibiotics, tetanus shots, we’ve seen a lot of trauma basically, (we need) antibiotics and medication for hypertension.”

San Jorge Children’s Hospital in San Juan is also facing a lack of fuel to run its diesel generator, according to its executive director, Domingo Cruz Vivaldi.

“We are dealing with a crisis right now. The hospital is needing diesel every day — 2,000 gallons a day. Yesterday, we ran out of diesel at 6 a.m. and we were without electricity at the hospital from 6 a.m. through 2 p.m. Eight hours without electricity.”

Without power, lifesaving machines like ventilators have to run on emergency backup power.

Puerto Rico residents are also facing punishing record high temperatures, with San Juan tying a record 94° temperature earlier this week.




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