Coming up on the one year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, CBS News correspondent David Begnaud, a tireless advocate for Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans post-hurricane, said that FEMA failed to deliver and distribute millions of bottles of water to those in need on the island. Begnaud tweeted a confirmation that the bottles were being stored in an airfield in Ceiba.
Photographer Abdiel Santana posted: “Although you don’t believe it… almost a million boxes of water that were never delivered to the villages.”
FEMA confirmed that it had brought the water inland in 2017 and turned them over to the central government of Puerto Rico. Celebrity Chef Jose Andres also confirmed that the people knew the water was being stored and not distributed and called for an independent investigation. He also claimed that he and his team were buying water that was meant to be distributed for free to those in need on the island.
My teams @WCKitchen @natemook @ErinSchrode knew about it but first they will say no we can not use them, months later water was no good for human consumption.We were “buying” water because they wouldn’t give it to us @ricardorossello we need an official independent investigation! https://t.co/FG2bainoVD
— José Andrés 🇺🇸🇪🇸🇺🇦 (@chefjoseandres) September 12, 2018
By the way, this is breaking the SAME DAY Trump claimed he handled the disaster in Puerto Rico well, telling reporters:
“I actually think it was one of the best jobs that’s ever been with respect to what this is all about. The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did, working along with the governor in Puerto Rico, I think, was tremendous. I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success.”
Unfortunately, I don’t think the families of the over 3000 confirmed dead from the storm would likely agree. Though the government initially claimed that only 64 people had died in the wake of Hurricane Maria, the numbers were recently adjusted to reflect more accurately the toll that the extended loss of power, lack of clean drinking water, and food shortages had on the community.
In the year since the hurricane hit the small island nation, thousands have fled the devastation, schools have been permanently closed and hospitals have been struggling to function adequately. It was recently announced that FEMA would no longer continue to pay for housing for those who were moved to the mainland after losing their homes in Puerto Rico, making the future even more uncertain for thousands who have no idea where they are going to be living in the months and year to come.