FEMA reverses decision to end emergency food, water aid to Puerto Rico

Alvin Baez  Reuters

FEMA spokesman William Booher told The Associated Press that the agency has been evaluating whether enough stores and supermarkets reopened by January 31 to justify ending distribution of food and water to municipal governments on the island.

Florida's two senators on Tuesday criticized the federal government's decision to cut off food and water shipments to Puerto Rico, even though 20% of the island still lacks running water more than four months after Hurricane Maria.

Eventually, FEMA will hand over responsibility for humanitarian aid to Puerto Rico's government. An emergency loan for the island's government to help it distribute aid has been held up by FEMA and the U.S. Treasury Department, he said.

"This has not happened yet and we were not informed that supplies would stop arriving, nor did the Government of Puerto Rico authorize this action". It will continue to provide assistance to agencies and organizations working in outlying areas. "The President needs to lead and the Congress must act to prevent future loss of life and get Puerto Rico's economy back on its feet". "There are still a lot of people that wonder why we are giving "foreign" aid to Puerto Rico", Rubio said. Just under half of Puerto Ricans were living below the poverty line, more than a third reported that they were in generally poor health and unemployment was twice as high as that of the mainland U.S.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz slammed FEMA over the possibility of ending aid to Puerto Rico at the Latino Victory Summit on Tuesday.

The mayor of San Juan on Tuesday denounced the USA government's plan to end emergency food and water aid to Puerto Rico, saying she had just sent powdered milk to a school that was still without power and struggling to find the necessary supplies for its students.

Alvin Baez  Reuters
Alvin Baez Reuters

The agency said Wednesday that distribution of supplies already stockpiled on the island will continue.

Puerto Rico municipalities have not gotten back as much as they invested in FEMA, she said.

But as public concerns mounted over FEMA's plans following NPR's report, the agency released a new statement.

He continues to act as though he's a beloved provider of aid, and believes he's acted appropriately when it comes to helping citizens on the island.

"The agreements between the federal government and the local government are focused on supporting people who remain in need after Hurricane Maria", Pesquera added.

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