20,000 pallets of bottled water left untouched in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico

The stockpile of bottled water stretches down an unused runway in Ceiba. Case after case, pallet piled upon ...

Posted: Sep 20, 2018 3:48 PM
Updated: Sep 20, 2018 3:48 PM

The stockpile of bottled water stretches down an unused runway in Ceiba. Case after case, pallet piled upon pallet, blue tarps and plastic glinting in the sun.

The emergency supplies were brought in by FEMA in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which smashed the island and left its residents without power, without roofs and without running water.

Accidents, disasters and safety

Beverages

Bottled water

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Caribbean

Consumer products

Continents and regions

Food and drink

Hurricanes

Kinds of foods and beverages

Latin America

Natural disasters

North America

Puerto Rico

Severe weather

The Americas

Tropical storms

United States

Weather

Hurricane Maria

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

US Department of Homeland Security

US federal departments and agencies

US federal government

Federal officials commandeered the area in the far east of the island last fall as a staging ground, collecting the water and containers full of tarps to patch damaged and destroyed roofs in surrounding neighborhoods.

And there the supplies sat. And sat. Storm survivors were collecting spring water from the mountains for cooking and bathing, even with the threat of disease that brought.

And apparently, the supplies were just left there, lost perhaps in poor communication and collaboration.

FEMA handles getting the supplies to the state or commonwealth, who in turn handle distributing those items at a local level, said Jeff Byard, FEMA Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery. "Obviously with Maria, we had not a supply issue, we had distribution issues," he said during a briefing about Hurricane Florence.

Ottmar Chavez, now administrator of Puerto Rico's General Services Administration, said FEMA reported that it had about 20,000 pallets of bottled water in excess in May this year, before Chavez was appointed.

His agency claimed the water, intending to deliver it where it was needed.

But after about 700 pallets had been distributed, complaints began to come in about the water's foul smell and taste, Chavez said in a statement.

"In light of this, we have been in contact with FEMA and the Department of Health to test the water inventory received by the federal agency. We are going to return those waters," he said.

The mayor of Ceiba, Angel Cruz Ramos, told CNN he's grateful for the generosity, but believes that too much water was delivered at the wrong time. "The time and heat has made it bad," he added.

CBS News first reported the water stockpile on Tuesday, the same day President Trump said his administration's response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was "an incredible, unsung success."

Puerto Rico now says 2,975 people died on the island because of the storm.

Huntsville
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 67°
Florence
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Fayetteville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
Decatur
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 64°
Scottsboro
Few Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 61°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 22566

Reported Deaths: 364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson504062
Shelby4943111
Trousdale13924
Rutherford119623
Sumner88145
Hamilton79415
Bledsoe6071
Williamson55210
Putnam4795
Robertson4653
Tipton4423
Out of TN4184
Lake4140
Wilson4078
Knox3755
Bedford2834
Montgomery2693
Rhea2100
Hardeman1960
Madison1752
Loudon1430
McMinn14114
Macon1363
Cheatham1230
Bradley1221
Fayette1152
Cumberland1121
Dickson1090
Unassigned920
Blount913
Maury890
Sevier812
Washington750
Coffee730
Wayne640
Gibson631
Monroe622
Sullivan602
Hickman580
Lauderdale561
Franklin531
Greene502
Dyer500
Marion401
Anderson401
DeKalb370
Hamblen362
Smith341
White330
Hawkins332
Lawrence310
Grundy311
Haywood312
Marshall311
Obion301
Henry300
Jefferson280
Carroll271
Overton260
Meigs260
Weakley260
Lincoln250
Warren230
Cannon210
Perry210
Cocke200
Carter191
Campbell181
Morgan170
Jackson170
Crockett162
Roane160
Polk160
Johnson160
Henderson150
Hardin152
Sequatchie150
Humphreys131
Fentress120
McNairy120
Chester120
Giles120
Scott120
Stewart110
Claiborne90
Houston80
Grainger80
Clay70
Benton71
Decatur50
Unicoi40
Union40
Van Buren40
Lewis30
Pickett30
Moore30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events