How FEMA F*cked Over Puerto Rico

Lead Photo: A PR resident carries bottled water, provided by FEMA. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

For weeks after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans kept telling us the same thing: They weren’t getting the help they needed.

More than six months after the storm, electricity still hasn’t been fully restored on the island. Thousands were displaced by lack of access to shelter, medicine, food and clean water. The Puerto Rican government still doesn’t have an accurate count of all those who died due to the storm’s impact.

Many insist the Federal Emergency Management Agency wasn’t mobilized quickly or seriously enough.

As the federal government questioned Puerto Rico’s need for increased federal funding, blamed bodies of water for FEMA’s delayed response and criticized San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz for supposedly being dramatic about the deadly storm, new data released by FEMA and reported on by Politico shows that the government put Puerto Ricans’ lives at risk by dismissing their concerns.

The article by Danny Vinik compares and contrasts FEMA’s relief efforts in the state of Texas after Hurricane Harvey with the response provided to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, finding that the relief agency favored Texas in its allocation of resources.

While the population of Texas (28.3 million) is larger than Puerto Rico’s (3.3 million), this newly published data proves the federal government was capable of doing more for Puerto Rico. They simply chose not to.

There’s no victory in telling Puerto Ricans that the data confirms what they’ve been saying all along. But in case there was any doubt, we’ve broken down some of the most startling statistics illustrating the Trump administration’s negligence toward a colonized island in the Caribbean in the video above.