Friday, 22 February, 2019

Puerto Rico: Trump compares Maria and Katrina deaths

Gage Skidmore  CC BY-SA 2.0 Gage Skidmore  CC BY-SA 2.0
Stacy Diaz | 07 October, 2017, 02:11

A plane carrying medical supplies and food has departed from Houston, the USA state of Texas on Thursday for Puerto Rico that was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. "We're doing what we can", he said.

And it appears voters back the president's stance, adding weight to the argument that many Americans do not see the situation in Puerto Rico as a priority.

Carmen Yulin Cruz told CNN: "Dammit, this is not a good-news story".

In a series of tweets September 25, Trump wrote that Puerto Rico was "already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt" and had an "old electrical grid, which was in bad shape".

The island was recently hit by powerful Hurricane Maria and has been working to restore power and clean water to the territory.

The President said that "every death is a horror", but drew a distinction between "a real catastrophe like Katrina" and "what happened here" in Puerto Rico, where at least 16 people died.

Donald Trump finally touched down in Puerto Rico today, where the island's 3.4 million people are still without food, water and power in the wake of Hurricane Maria's widespread destruction. It's going to have to be, you can say goodbye to that.

However, Cruz praised the White House staff and said, "I saw a real connection between the reality and the White House staff".

POTUS also addressed the devastation the hurricane caused - to him, telling residents, "I hate to tell you Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack".

"Sixteen versus in the thousands", he said, comparing Maria's impact to that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Right after he arrived, he defended his administration's handling of the disaster and repeated his argument that Puerto Ricans need to help with the recovery, also scolding them for a longstanding budget crisis.

Journalist Caleb Ecarma said that Trump likely failed to follow his staffers' advice on directly handing out the paper towel.

The picture painted by Trump's visit to Puerto Rico, where he toured some of the island's least damaged neighbourhoods and tossed paper towels into a crowd, is far different from the reality elsewhere on the island.

'But that's fine because we've saved a lot of lives'.

The Registered Nurse Response Network has more than 12 years of experience providing medical care after disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the South Asia tsunami and Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

Last week, Cruz criticized the federal response in Puerto Rico and Trump lashed out on Twitter by questioning Cruz's leadership.