STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

FEMA stresses it's not leaving Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricans were alarmed this week to hear that the Federal Emergency Management Agency ...

Posted: Feb 1, 2018 10:10 AM
Updated: Feb 1, 2018 10:10 AM

Puerto Ricans were alarmed this week to hear that the Federal Emergency Management Agency planned to halt new shipments of food and water to the island -- and some assumed that meant FEMA was going to stop providing aid.

"Seriously, are they leaving?" San Juan Mayor Yulin Cruz asked on Twitter on Tuesday.

But FEMA was not planning to leave, nor stop handing out crucial supplies, the agency stressed. Distribution of its stockpiled 46 million liters of water and four million meals and snacks will continue on the island. The agency believes that amount is sufficient until normalcy returns.

Puerto Rico's Secretary of Public Safety and state coordinating officer Hector Pesquera agreed Wednesday that the commonwealth has sufficient supplies -- though he said the day before that "we were not informed that supplies would stop arriving, nor did the government of Puerto Rico agree with this action."

'The numbers just don't add up'

Meanwhile, many Puerto Ricans are still waiting for relief -- and some are skeptical that FEMA's stockpile will be enough.

"The numbers just don't add up," said Jorge Pratts, a full-time volunteer with Operation Blessing, who oversees the US nonprofit's operations in Puerto Rico. The group has distributed 35,000 water filters since Hurricane Maria hit. Pratts was in the town of Salinas on Wednesday, rebuilding a barber shop destroyed in the storm.

Pratts says he still sees people who are desperately in need of water, even in the capital of San Juan.

"The cry for help comes from fathers and mothers, people in their 60s, 70s and 80s," he said. "It's a very, very delicate situation that we're going through. FEMA is not being sensitive at all, and they're not understanding what's going on here."

'We are still in disaster mode'

Utuado, another mountainous community where Maria wiped out bridges and left communities isolated for weeks, is still very dependent on FEMA's relief aid, the mayor says.

Mayor Ernesto Irizarry says 71% of the 33,000 residents do not have power. More than 30% don't have clean water.

"For now, we have enough supplies," Irizarry said.

The mayor says they have enough supplies to last about another week, and he is confident FEMA will continue to provide supplies. But if FEMA's stockpile on the island runs out, his municipality would likely face a "humanitarian crisis."

"Utuado is not in recovery mode," he said. "We are still in disaster mode because we don't have access to basic services."

He was not able to watch President Donald Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday night because he was meeting with a struggling community in Utuado that still does not have access to clean water. Irizarry wasn't surprised that Trump only mentioned Puerto Rico once in his speech and didn't recount any stories from the island like he mentioned from wildfires in California and Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

"He does not know Utuado," Irizarry said. "They didn't take him to towns like Utuado during his visit. They took him to Guaynabo that will never compare to the devastation in my town."

Huntsville
Few Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 76°
Florence
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 80°
Fayetteville
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 79°
Decatur
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 75°
Scottsboro
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 82°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6219167
Mobile4625138
Montgomery4397111
Tuscaloosa258652
Madison19839
Marshall190411
Shelby155724
Lee153537
Morgan12415
Baldwin117011
Walker105631
Elmore100721
Dallas9789
Franklin92816
Etowah91914
DeKalb8647
Russell6650
Chambers66427
Autauga66214
Butler64529
Tallapoosa62569
Unassigned61627
Limestone5963
Houston5616
Lauderdale5556
Cullman5546
St. Clair4842
Colbert4816
Lowndes48022
Escambia4688
Pike4675
Calhoun4565
Coffee4164
Covington40312
Jackson4022
Barbour3772
Bullock37610
Dale3721
Talladega3677
Hale34323
Marengo34211
Clarke3036
Wilcox2998
Chilton2952
Winston2925
Sumter28713
Blount2811
Marion26714
Pickens2626
Monroe2553
Randolph2489
Conecuh2278
Perry2242
Bibb2151
Macon2129
Choctaw20912
Greene1929
Henry1463
Washington1367
Crenshaw1263
Lawrence1210
Cherokee1157
Geneva950
Lamar871
Clay822
Fayette811
Coosa631
Cleburne421
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 59546

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby13113219
Davidson12935142
Rutherford342839
Hamilton319637
Sumner187456
Williamson167016
Knox15069
Trousdale15065
Out of TN139710
Wilson113017
Putnam10027
Unassigned9362
Bradley9254
Robertson90113
Sevier8843
Montgomery7127
Lake6960
Tipton6926
Bledsoe6271
Bedford5989
Macon5686
Hamblen4474
Maury4313
Hardeman4004
Fayette3573
Madison3472
Loudon3201
Blount3063
Rhea3030
Dyer2803
McMinn27018
Cheatham2643
Dickson2510
Washington2350
Lawrence2276
Cumberland2004
Anderson1892
Sullivan1892
Lauderdale1754
Gibson1661
Jefferson1641
Monroe1526
Smith1482
Greene1382
Coffee1370
Cocke1300
Hardin1257
Warren1200
Obion1182
Haywood1132
Franklin1103
Wayne1100
Marshall1082
Hickman1010
McNairy1001
Marion914
Giles891
Carter871
Lincoln840
Hawkins832
DeKalb820
White813
Roane800
Overton701
Weakley691
Claiborne680
Campbell671
Grundy652
Henderson650
Chester590
Unicoi560
Grainger550
Polk550
Carroll521
Henry500
Crockett493
Cannon460
Jackson460
Johnson450
Sequatchie450
Humphreys392
Meigs370
Perry370
Morgan301
Decatur280
Fentress270
Stewart270
Scott260
Union220
Houston200
Clay180
Moore170
Benton151
Hancock110
Lewis100
Van Buren90
Pickett70

 

 

Community Events