Fury Erupts In Puerto Rico As Locals Find Unused Emergency Supplies From Hurricane Maria
Fury is growing in Puerto Rico after locals found a warehouse that was filled with emergency items originally sent to the island back in 2017 in response to Hurricane Maria. Despite the widespread devastation of the 2017 event, the items remained completely unused and undistributed, sparking mass outrage, via NBC News.
The warehouse — located in the southern city of Ponce — was discovered after the public underwent several “checks” to survey the damage from the earthquake. In light of the gross mismanagement, Gov. Wanda Vázquez has fired the director of the U.S. territory’s emergency management agency, Carlos Acevedo.
“There are thousands of people who have made sacrifices to help those in the south, and it is unforgivable that resources were kept in the warehouse,” the governor said.
Vázquez has also opened up an investigation as to why the emergency goods were never distributed.
Meanwhile, Puerto Ricans — who were both in need of supplies after the recent earthquake, and spurred on by social media posts — broke into the building to gather emergency supplies. These included items such as water bottles, diapers, cots, and medicine.
The scene was captured on video by online blogger Lorenzo Delgado. The videos showed chaos as people fought their way into the building to distribute necessities such as water and baby food.
However, police were soon called to disperse the angry crowds, only adding to the discontent of the public.
“Our people suffered greatly bc of how Hurricane María was managed. We cannot allow history to repeat itself… The City of Ponce and its Government had NO knowledge of the findings made in this warehouse near the Guancha de Ponce,” wrote María Meléndez, Ponce’s mayor, on Twitter.
“Everyone knows what us mayors went through after Hurricane Maria to try and get help to our cities and how we’ve worked these weeks to provide basic supplies to people affected by earthquakes. Those involved owe us an explanation,” she concluded, adding that the situation was “outrageous,” as The Daily Mail reported.
The news of the unused supplies comes as many Puerto Ricans have voiced their discontent at what many call the government’s botched response to Hurricane Maria.
For example, in August of 2019, unused food and medicine were found in an elections office. Instead of helping save lives, the food had been torn apart by rats. Just a month later, hundreds of pallets of water were found on an airstrip. They were unfortunately unusable after going bad after months spent in the sun.
The scandal led to the ousting of then Gov. Ricardo Rossello, as previously reported by The Inquisitr.