As the nation prepares for another potentially devastating storm with Hurricane Florence barreling towards the east coast, Puerto Rico has still not recovered from 2017’s Hurricane Maria. And to make matters worse, this week CBS News correspondent David Begnaud reported that what appears to be millions of water bottles meant for hurricane victim relief remain sitting on a runway at an airport in Ceiba, Puerto Rico.
The water was reportedly provided by FEMA in the wake of the 2017 storm and subsequently turned over to the central government, however it seems that no one can explain why it never made its way to those in need. The death toll from the hurricane is currently believed to be around 3,000, as many residents did not have access to basic necessities such as clean drinking water.
In a video followup, Begnaud says that Abdiel Santana, a photographer working for a Puerto Rican police agency, first noticed the water bottles in the wake of the disaster last year, and during a recent trip to Ceiba, Santana observed that they were still sitting in the same spot nearly a year later. Incensed, Santana snapped photos of the water, which have since gone viral.
Begnaud states that to the agency’s credit, FEMA got back to him and admitted that they had provided the water and that it was turned over to the central government.
“It’s believed that the water was given to the General Services Administration. The question is what happened after that. Where was the breakdown?” Begnaud asked. “The water was kept in an area that was pretty hard-hit during the storm, and could have used all the water they could have gotten.”