DeLauro on aid to Puerto Rico: Slow and inadequate

People arrive in West Palm Beach, Fla., from Puerto Rico on Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2017. The Eagles Wings Foundation led a mission that transported elderly nursing home patients and some family members to safety after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. With power out across nearly the entire island, families were anxious in particular to get out elderly and other vulnerable relatives amid concerns about access to food and fresh water. (Calla Kessler/Palm Beach Post via AP)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Twelve days after Hurricane Maria destroyed so much of the island of Puerto Rico, many are criticizing the slow pace of federal aid. Among them, a New Haven woman who just got back from Puerto Rico Sunday.

“There’s big lines, people waiting for water, bread,” said Victoria Colon, speaking through a translator. She was in Puerto Rico when Maria hit.

“The situation in Puerto Rico is horrendous. More assistance should be coming that way,” she said, sitting in the basement of St. Francis Church in New Haven’s Fair Haven section. Third district congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D) came here with other local officials to talk to people who have loved ones in Puerto Rico and are concerned over the speed at which aid is getting to the island.

“I have been disappointed with the administration’s response,” DeLauro said. “It has been too slow and it has been inadequate. American citizens in Puerto Rico are being treated like second class citizens.”

New Haven fire chief John Alston told the group that the military has to rebuild roads and establish communication before others can go in and help.

“I have so many firefighters from across the board who are calling saying we want to go we want to go,” Chief Alston said. “We can’t send them until that’s established.”

Frustrated families complain the federal government does not seem to have a plan to help Puerto Rico. In this church basement, the pastor has the start of a plan.

“What we need to do is to get together as a community,” said Father Carlos Echavarria. “To get together as a community and help those who are in need.”

If you are interested in donating to help Puerto Rico, the experts say donate money, not stuff. With the infrastructure in ruins, it is tough to get stuff onto the island.

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