A video has gone viral showing dozens of angry Puerto Ricans tearing open the intentionally locked doors of a warehouse in the city of Ponce to discover endless rows of bottled water, food, and other supplies intended to be distributed to the victims of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the U.S. colony over two years ago.
According to CNN, “the emergency aid is believed to be from when Hurricane Maria hit the island two years ago, the governor said.” If true, that means the necessary supplies, which could have meant the difference between life and death to the impoverished nation had been left to collect dust while the people suffered.
As evident by the numerous videos coming out, this is not a small sum of rations an emergency response department could have easily forgotten about; there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of bottles of water and other supplies, all covered in a thick layer of dust.
Carlos Acevedo, director of Puerto Rico’s Office of Emergency Management, was fired Saturday by Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced after the cache of supplies was uncovered. Maj. General José J. Reyes will be tasked with replacing him.
Two years after the devasting earthquake, families were still eagerly lining up to get what they can from this newly found stockpile.
A statement from the Office of Emergency Management claims no person was denied goods from horde, and they were still actively handing out supplies to residents. Acevedo also claims the bottled water found was expired, and that’s why they were not distributed.
Of the 600 pallets worth of water acquired for relief efforts, Acevedo admits 80 pallets were stored in the warehouse with no intentions of handing out, citing the water’s expiration.
Though most bottled water manufacturers cite a shelf life of about two years, if kept properly, bottled water can be stored indefinitely.
Continuing damage from newer natural disasters since Maria meant the small island colony is still suffering.
This isn’t the first time Puerto Rican officials came under fire for supposedly ‘sabotaging’ their own relief effort. President Trump criticized the Mayor of San Juan for “hiding supplies” in the immediate aftermath of Maria. Residents later found 10 trailers of food rotting in the streets of San Juan, unbeknownst to the suffering citizens.
Secretary of State Elmer Roman suggested in an interview that there could be more warehouses like the one in Ponce, adding, “the instructions are clear: All of the supplies that are available will be distributed.”
Categories: World News