Hurricane relief for Puerto Rico found rotting in warehouse

Thousands of pounds of relief supplies for Puerto Rico, sent after Hurrican Maria decimated the island, have been found rotting in a state elections warehouse, according to the New York Times.

The supplies were supposed to have been distributed by the national guard. 

The Hill:

The Times noted that local radio station, Radio Isla, published a video showing cases of items such as beans, Tylenol and water covered in rat and lizard droppings. 

According to the Times, the Puerto Rico elections commission offices were used as a collection center for donations from private entities and nonprofit groups after the island was ravaged by Hurricane Maria last year. Once they were collected, the donations were then distributed by the National Guard. 

As the severity of the crisis diminished, the donations were then reportedly stored in trailers in the parking lot of the election bureau’s San Juan offices, where they remained despite continued problems in the region. 

Officials confirmed to the Times that the items had remained in trailers for almost a year. 

“I agree, it should have been handed out as soon as possible,” Maj. Paul Dahlen, a spokesman for the National Guard, told the Times, adding that some of the materials were received after the National Guard ended its mission in May. 

Nicolás Gautier, interim president of the elections council, told CBS News that "whatever was left after the National Guard left was put in those containers.” 

“In one of these containers was food for dogs and apparently several of the boxes were broken," he added. "After the placement in the van, that brings a lot of rats and it infected everything.”

The report claimed that most of the donations were not usuable due to food items having expired and other supplies that arrived in broken containers.

But you have to wonder how many other distribution points on the island also have trailers full of aid. The point being, the national guard is not under federal control. It is run by the state government, who also dropped the ball on distributing FEMA supplies in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane.

Trump was blamed for an inadequate response - just like Bush was blamed for Katrina screw ups. The media was strangely quiet during the Obama years when natural disasters hit, despite similar screw ups in the aid pipeline.

FEMA was not set up to run local relief in hurricanes and other natural disasters. This has been the job of state governments. FEMA, established in 1979 with a budget of less than $6 billion has grown into a sprawling, behemoth getting more than $14 billion a year. But despite its growth, FEMA isn't supposed to distribute relief on a local level. State government disaster plans are supposed to take care of that.

If there were screw ups in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the fault is with the territorial government of Puerto Rico, not Washington.

Thousands of pounds of relief supplies for Puerto Rico, sent after Hurrican Maria decimated the island, have been found rotting in a state elections warehouse, according to the New York Times.

The supplies were supposed to have been distributed by the national guard. 

The Hill:

The Times noted that local radio station, Radio Isla, published a video showing cases of items such as beans, Tylenol and water covered in rat and lizard droppings. 

According to the Times, the Puerto Rico elections commission offices were used as a collection center for donations from private entities and nonprofit groups after the island was ravaged by Hurricane Maria last year. Once they were collected, the donations were then distributed by the National Guard. 

As the severity of the crisis diminished, the donations were then reportedly stored in trailers in the parking lot of the election bureau’s San Juan offices, where they remained despite continued problems in the region. 

Officials confirmed to the Times that the items had remained in trailers for almost a year. 

“I agree, it should have been handed out as soon as possible,” Maj. Paul Dahlen, a spokesman for the National Guard, told the Times, adding that some of the materials were received after the National Guard ended its mission in May. 

Nicolás Gautier, interim president of the elections council, told CBS News that "whatever was left after the National Guard left was put in those containers.” 

“In one of these containers was food for dogs and apparently several of the boxes were broken," he added. "After the placement in the van, that brings a lot of rats and it infected everything.”

The report claimed that most of the donations were not usuable due to food items having expired and other supplies that arrived in broken containers.

But you have to wonder how many other distribution points on the island also have trailers full of aid. The point being, the national guard is not under federal control. It is run by the state government, who also dropped the ball on distributing FEMA supplies in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane.

Trump was blamed for an inadequate response - just like Bush was blamed for Katrina screw ups. The media was strangely quiet during the Obama years when natural disasters hit, despite similar screw ups in the aid pipeline.

FEMA was not set up to run local relief in hurricanes and other natural disasters. This has been the job of state governments. FEMA, established in 1979 with a budget of less than $6 billion has grown into a sprawling, behemoth getting more than $14 billion a year. But despite its growth, FEMA isn't supposed to distribute relief on a local level. State government disaster plans are supposed to take care of that.

If there were screw ups in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the fault is with the territorial government of Puerto Rico, not Washington.