Max Garcia seeks help for Puerto Rico, where he has family

'Apocalyptic' devastation in Puerto Rico; Island faces humanitarian crisis Governor says
Hospitalized children at risk in Puerto Rico due to lack of fuel
Author

29 September, 2017

The Trump administration announced Thursday that it has temporarily waived a US shipping restriction for Puerto Rico known as the Jones Act.

The most powerful hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in almost 90 years, Maria swept across the island last Wednesday.

On Thursday the Trump administration announced it was waiving the Jones Act, a little-known federal law that prohibits foreign-flagged ships from shuttling goods between US ports, for Puerto Rico.

He says the priority now is the humanitarian and rescue mission in Puerto Rico.

Ricardo Rossello, the island's governor, has called its devastation an unprecedented natural disaster. "Much food and water there/on way", he tweeted Tuesday, later adding, "We will get through this TOGETHER!" Some water-supply trucks have been mobbed.

There are several thousand US federal employees in Puerto Rico helping with the recovery effort.

On Wednesday the governor and others pushed Trump to temporarily waive the Jones Act, a law requiring that all goods shipped between US ports be carried by USA owned-and-operated vessels.

"The aftermath of the hurricane has caused an huge hardship to the island, and our thoughts are with the people of Puerto Rico during this hard time", ESPN Senior Vice President of College Sports Programming and Events Pete Derzis said in a statement. "Power was on just a few hours before going down again", spokesman Jesus Velez says.

The city is partnering with local churches and other organizations in Chautauqua County and the surrounding area to get any donations to Puerto Rico.

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The aftermath of the powerful storm has resulted in a near-total shutdown of the USA territory's economy that could last for weeks and has many people running seriously low on cash and worrying that it will become even harder to survive on this storm-ravaged island.

The domestic shipping industry argues the Jones Act is needed to preserve US shipping jobs and for national security.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke had waived the law earlier this month to help ease fuel shortages in the Southeast following hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Growing frustration levels were evident among throngs of island residents struggling on a daily basis to cope without basic necessities.

"I mean a lot of uncertainty", he said. "I ask that everyone treat us as USA citizens". "We are supposed to be treated equally".

"We will make arrangements to keep our commitments to the University of the West Indies", he said.

San Juan resident Joselyn Velasquez said she thought aid was too slow to arrive.

"As long as they treat the victims in Puerto Rico as well as they treated the victims in Texas and in Florida, that's all I ask", Fortuño said.

The Caribbean island, a U.S. territory, has been coping with shortages of food, drinking water, electricity and various forms of communication in recent weeks. "Massachusetts is ready to welcome disaster survivors and our administration is preparing to support those who seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts", Baker said in a statement sent to 22News.


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