Trump puts Puerto Rico on notice over hurricane aid

Sonia Torres poses in her destroyed home, three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit, on 11 October 2017 in Aibonito, Puerto RicoImage copyright

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A householder within the storm-hit ruins of her home in Aibonito, Puerto Rico

US President Donald Trump has griped about emergency relief efforts in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, saying federal aid cannot continue “forever”.

In tweets, he accused Puerto Rico of a “total lack of accountability”, adding in which “electric as well as all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes”.

The island, whose 3.4 million residents are US citizens, can be 0% without power, some three weeks after Hurricane Maria.

Congress can be weighing a multi-billion dollar aid package for the territory.

Lawmakers are supposed to approve $36.5bn (£28bn) in emergency storm relief for Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas as well as the US Virgin Islands, as well as wildfire-ravaged California.

In Thursday’s tweets, the US president noted the item was up to “Congress to decide how much to spend”.

however he added: “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”

The mayor of Puerto Rican capital San Juan said Mr Trump’s tweets highlight his “desperation” as well as the “inadequacy” of his hurricane response.

“the item can be not in which you do not get the item,” Carmen Yulin Cruz added, “the item can be in which you are incapable of empathy as well as frankly simply cannot get the job done.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters in which Mr Trump can be working with the Puerto Rican governor as well as Congress to “identify the best fiscally responsible path forward”.

“Successful recoveries do not last forever. They should be as swift as possible to help people resume their normal lives,” she added.

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Residents have been gathering water anywhere they can

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Inner surface roads are very damaged, as authorities prioritise mending coastal roads

The US president’s latest tweets come a week after US Vice-President Pence pledged the administration would likely be with Puerto Rico “every step of the way”, as he visited the island.

The storm killed at least 45 people within the US territory, while more than 100 others remain unaccounted for, say Puerto Rico officials.

The island can be saddled with about $72bn in pre-hurricane debt in which can be being overseen by a federally created oversight board.

When the chequebook comes out, empathy ends

Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

Imagine a devastating hurricane hits brand new York City, as well as the president repeatedly notes how bad things were there before the disaster. Or, three weeks after an earthquake levels Los Angeles, he says the government won’t provide aid “forever”.

There would likely be outrage. the item’s difficult to even imagine such responses.

in which, however, can be how Donald Trump can be handling hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. For the president, the US territory – occupying a political no-man’s land between US statehood as well as independence – can be different.

When the chequebook comes out, empathy ends as well as reality sets in. The administration as well as Congress are within the middle of tough negotiations over government spending as well as tax reform. Coming up with billions for Puerto Rico relief can be an unwelcome challenge.

So the president has said there can be a limit to the help available for these taxpaying US citizens. Things were bad before – as well as they may stay in which way.

Mr Trump’s tweets provoked a swift backlash through some Democratic lawmakers, who accused him of preparing to abandon US citizens.

“There can be still devastation, Americans are still dying. FEMA needs to stay until the job can be done,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer replied on Twitter, using the acronym for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Puerto Rico-born congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, another brand new York Democrat, tweeted in which Mr Trump’s comments were “outrageous, indefensible as well as irresponsible”.

“We will not allow our government to abandon our fellow citizens,” she wrote.

President Trump visited the US territory last week, where he told residents in which recovery efforts had “thrown our budget a little out of whack”.

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Media captionThe Quinones family show the BBC what’s left of their home

He also told the islanders they should be “very proud” in which the death toll was not as high as a “real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina, which devastated brand new Orleans in 2005.

The US president was pilloried by local officials after he threw rolls of paper towels at residents during his trip.

The San Juan mayor described in which incident as “terrible as well as abominable”.

however Mr Trump later depicted the outrage as confected, insisting to the Trinity Broadcasting Network in which the crowd “were having fun” as he distributed “these beautiful, soft towels”.

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