As President Trump complains about Puerto Rico’s recovery costs, the island is still struggling for basic survival.
Trump on Tuesday touched down in the U.S. territory nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit, leaving the island with a trail of death and destruction like none it has ever seen. Much of the worst of the damage still lingered by the time Trump arrived.
Trump came an island where 95% of electricity customers still do not have power — including several hospitals. Puerto Rico at one point lost 100% of its power. According to data from Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, only about 15% of the country’s cell towers are functional.
Less than half of Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million citizens have running water, and food and supplies remain scarce for homes and hospitals alike. Nearly one-third of the nation’s 1,100 gas stations are closed, as are almost half of its 456 grocery stores. Only 50% of the major roadways have been cleared.
At least 16 people have died due to the storm. Trump on Tuesday said Puerto Rico should be “very proud” of that death toll, since it is much lower than the number of casualties from Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people in 2006.
The Trump administration has deployed about 4,500 U.S. troops on the ground in Puerto Rico, which another 1,400 National Guard members arriving.
Hurricane Maria strikes Puerto Rico after pummeling Caribbean
Congress has not approved a recovery package for Puerto Rico and a final estimate for the damages has not been determined.