Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

FEMA, first responders can't be in Puerto Rico 'forever'

Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello said on Monday drinking water supplies have been restored to almost 60% of the island but some areas in the north remained at around 20% after Hurricane Maria hit the US territory.

Attkisson is a conservative journalist who has repeatedly defended Trump.

FEMA said that as of Tuesday, 21 days since Maria made landfall, 84 percent of people on the island remained without electricity and that just 63 percent of Puerto Ricans had potable water. Disaster costs are expected to run into the tens of billions of dollars.

After years of economic challenges, Puerto Rico was already in the process of restructuring much of its $74 billion in debt before the hurricane struck.

"Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes", Trump wrote in a series of tweets early Thursday. "We're all Americans and we owe them what they need".

"We have gone all out for Puerto Rico", Trump said at that meeting with Puerto Rico officials, including Cruz.

"He seemed to like the idea, and said they would follow up and see what that would look like", Rubio said. But Trump's tweets Thursday raised questions about whether the U.S. would remain there for the long haul. He said federal responders could not stay in the territory "forever".

A news release from the Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday said that there are "reports of residents obtaining, or trying to obtain, drinking water from wells at hazardous waste "Superfund" sites in Puerto Rico".

The House easily passed the bill, with the Senate expected to do so later month and send it to Trump for signing into law. "Puerto Rico se levanta!"

The White House is looking at how to address the long-term needs, including how to rebuild the power grid.

He added: "There will be a period in which ... we hope sooner rather than later, to where the USA military and FEMA, generally speaking, can withdraw because then the government and the people of Puerto Rico are recovering sufficiently to start the process of rebuilding".

"They're basically three weeks now living in the 19th century", Rubio said.

Just 17% of the USA territory has power, according to the island's government.

Last week, after visiting the island to view relief efforts, Trump had asked Congress to approve an emergency aid package of US$29 billion for Puerto Rico.

The words were taken by some as a hint at abandoning Puerto Rico.

Velázquez said the funds earmarked for loans to local governments would assist Puerto Rico's "liquidity crisis" and that steps must be taken to ensure that creditors are unable to access funds meant for disaster relief. More than 45 deaths have been attributed to the storm, and 90 percent of the island is without electricity. In the meantime, he said he thinks Congress will find money to help Puerto Rico avert the cliff.

"Or it could be one of those moments when you have this terrible storm and it took so long that things never really got better, and a lot of people left and never came back", he said.

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