WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Charles Schumer, the highest Democrat within the U.S. Senate, referred to as on President Donald Trump on Sunday to call a single official to supervise and coordinate reduction efforts in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.
Schumer, together with Representatives Nydia Velàzquez and Jose Serrano, mentioned a “CEO of response and restoration” is required to handle the advanced and ongoing federal response within the territory, the place hundreds of thousands of People stay with out energy and provides.
In a press release, Schumer mentioned the present federal response to Hurricane Maria’s affect on the island had been “disorganized, slow-footed and mismanaged.”
“This particular person may have the flexibility to convey all of the federal companies collectively, reduce purple tape on the private and non-private facet, assist flip the lights again on, get clear water flowing and assist result in restoration for hundreds of thousands of People who’ve gone too lengthy in a number of the worst situations,” he mentioned.
The White Home didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
The Democrats contended that naming a lone particular person to handle the federal government’s reduction efforts was crucial, notably on condition that the Federal Emergency Administration Company is already stretched skinny from coping with different crises, such because the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and the wildfires in California.
The severity of the Puerto Rico disaster, the place 1,000,000 individuals don’t have clear water and hundreds of thousands are with out energy almost a month after Hurricane Maria made landfall, demand a single particular person to focus completely on reduction and restoration, the Democrats mentioned.
Forty-nine individuals have died in Puerto Rico formally, with dozens extra lacking. The hurricane did intensive injury to the island’s energy grid, destroying properties, roads and different very important infrastructure. Now, the bankrupt territory is struggling to supply fundamental companies like operating water, and pay its payments.
”It’s tragically clear this Administration was caught flat footed when Maria hit Puerto Rico,“ mentioned Velàzquez. ”Appointing a CEO of Response and Restoration will, eventually, put one particular person with authority in cost to handle the response and guarantee we’re lastly getting the individuals of Puerto Rico the help they want.”
On Thursday, Trump mentioned the federal response has been a “10” on a scale of 1 to 10 at a gathering with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello.
The governor has requested the White Home and Congress for at the least $four.6 billion in block grants and different kinds of funding.
Senator Marco Rubio referred to as on Congress to switch an $18.7 billion assist package deal for areas broken by a latest swath of hurricanes to make sure that Puerto Rico can rapidly entry the funds.
Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Enhancing by Lisa Von Ahn and Diane Craft