Minnesota mother fears for daughters stranded in Puerto Rico

Minnesota mother fears for daughters stranded in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria has claimed at least 16 lives since hitting the USA territory less than a week ago, in a region already shaken by Hurricane Irma earlier this month. Puerto Rico is 1,000 miles from Miami, while countries like the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are closer.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Nydia Velazquez (R-NY) had called on Trump to issue a waiver for Puerto Rico, which he said Wednesday he was "thinking about".

Speaking on CNN after Trump's statement, Jeremy Konyndyk, the former head of USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, said Trump's reasoning "almost sounds like profiteering by U.S. shipping companies off an emergency like this". Trump said of the USA territory: "That place was just destroyed". "People have no communication, no water, they have no food, because they can not buy any food". A waiver was granted to lift the Jones Act during the days immediately following Hurricane Harvey.

Rosselló and other Puerto Rican officials have since applauded the response of the Trump administration.

The DoD statement said that improving communications were now "providing a clearer picture of the extent of the storm damage and the magnitude of the response challenge". "They said it was horrifying what they went through".

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a statement on Wednesday (Sept. 27), that he expects the USA government to waive the Jones Act, a bill that restricts ships from entering the island's ports, Reuters reports.

FEMA also says the main reason more money hasn't been earmarked for recovery yet because it's hard to tell who needs what at the moment.

"I am very concerned by the Department's decision not to waive the Jones Act for current relief efforts in Puerto Rico, which is facing a worsening humanitarian crisis following Hurricane Maria", he wrote in the letter. Even in good times, which Puerto Rico has not seen for a while, the Jones Act hurts the island territory. "Unfortunately, because of the severity of the hit, there is diminished capacity of local governments and state government to respond similar to what we saw with Texas and Florida".