FEMA is leaving Puerto Rico after four months since Hurricane Maria hit. The storm plunged the island into darkness, knocking out all of the power and running water on the island. FEMA claims their work is done and they aren’t needed.
According to NPR, FEMA has distributed about 30 million gallons of drinking water and 60 million throughout Puerto Rico since the humanitarian crisis began. Rather, FEMA will be turning over remaining supplies to government organizations. The goal is for the government to distribute the remaining supplies as needed. This is because FEMA claims that less than 1 percent of Puerto Ricans need emergency food and water. Yet, NPR reports that some mayors believe the move is premature.
“There are some municipalities that may not need the help anymore, because they’ve got nearly 100 percent of their energy and water back. Ours is not so lucky,” Morovis Mayor Carmen Maldonado told NPR. Maldonado added: “In municipalities like this one, where families are going out to work just to buy gas to run a generator, it becomes very hard because money they would use to buy food they’re instead using to buy fuel.”
The government organization will be turning their focus from emergency relief to long-term recovery. FEMA’s Puerto Rico Director Alejandro De La Campa told NPR that the agency hopes to get the Puerto Rican economy running again. According to De La Campa, FEMA is shutting off their water and food to encourage people to return to normal. De La Campa claims that the supplies are discouraging Puerto Ricans from visiting grocery stores, impacting Puerto Rico’s economy.
You can read more from NPR by clicking here.