Puerto Rico is still facing a long long uphill battle as the devastation from Hurricane Maria has left much of the United States territory on the brink of a government shutdown, if emergency funds from congress don’t come through quickly enough. After a quickie visit earlier this week in which he tossed paper towels to displaced residents and marveled over canned chicken, by Thursday President Trump had turned his attention back to more pressing issues, namely, the “fake news” media.
Sadly, it seems as if this administration is going to continue to treat Puerto Rico as “out of sight, out of mind,” because as of Thursday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website had pulled statistics regarding water accessibility and electricity on the island. According to the Washington Post, on Wednesday the website was still reporting that only half of Puerto Ricans had access to drinking water and only five percent of the island had electricity.
FEMA spokesman William Booher noted that both measures are still being reported on a website maintained by the office of Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, http://www.status.pr. According to that website, which is in Spanish, 9.2 percent of the island now has power and 54.2 percent of residents have access to drinking water. Booher said that these measures are also shared in news conferences and media calls that happen twice a day, but he didn’t elaborate on why they are no longer on the main FEMA page.
The more grim statistics have instead been replaced by those that seem to support Trump’s assertions that the island is doing just a fine job bouncing back from the horrific natural disaster, such as in regards to the increased number of federal workers on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, cleared roadways, and the reopening of airports, post offices, hospitals, and grocery stores.
In other words, this administration’s handling of the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico really makes George W. Bush’s infamous Hurricane Katrina utterance — “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” — seem like quaint times.