FEMA spokesman William Booher told The Associated Press that the agency had been evaluating whether enough stores and supermarkets had reopened by January 31 to justify ending distribution of food and water to municipal governments on the island. "Half a million homes are totally disrupted, either need to be rebuilt completely or need to have their roof put back on", she said of the damage from hurricanes Irma and Maria, which left more than 3 million Puerto Ricans in need of assistance. The storm killed dozens and left the entire island without power at a time when it was already trudging through the largest government bankruptcy in USA history, with some $120 billion in combined bond and pension debt. He did not say when the agency would finalize its plan to hand the remaining supplies over to the Puerto Rican government.
Mr. Booher insisted on Wednesday that FEMA was not backtracking on its food and water aid plans in response to public criticism. The NHC says Maria is the costliest hurricane on record to strike Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. "Our communities will continue to fight the racism and cruelty that has characterized Trump's response to Puerto Rico and fight to ensure all Puerto Ricans have the resources they need to thrive once again".
"In putting together our FY19 budget proposal, we prioritized funding for the districts that took in large numbers of evacuees, and total funding of $30 million over two years will go a long way to supporting these students", said Michael J. Heffernan, the secretary of administration and finance.
In an interview with the outlet, a FEMA official said that food and water provisions to the island would "officially shut off" on Wednesday. "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". So, we need to create a balance.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz didn't mince her words Wednesday when asked about President Donald Trump's pledges of support to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico during his State of the Unionspeech, denouncing them as "hypocrisy".
FEMA said most grocery stores are open, as are transportation systems, gas stations, banks and ATMs. "We have the same rights as other Americans", another Puerto Rican resident said, claiming that Trump isn't doing everything he can and should be for them.
"FEMA will continue to support any identified needs and will provide supplies to volunteer agencies and other private non-profit organizations who are working with households in rural, outlying areas to address ongoing disaster related needs as power and water is gradually restored", he added.