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The big picture on Puerto Rico's recovery

13 Octubre 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency, in an email Thursday (Oct 12) to reporters about its relief efforts, notes that it has received reports of people trying to drink potentially dangerous Superfund water, from wells that were sealed to avoid human exposure to toxins: "There are reports of residents obtaining, or trying to obtain, drinking water from wells at hazardous waste 'Superfund' sites in Puerto Rico".

Puerto Rico is struggling to recover after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island, leaving 44 people dead and cutting power and running water to much of its population, and its governor this week appealed to Trump for billions in additional federal aid.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, which also has a sizeable Puerto Rican community, told Reuters that he had urged Trump to create a high-level task force to provide advice for rebuilding the island, and that the president was receptive to the idea. Lopez visited Puerto Rico last weekend and reflected on the dire situation its residents face.

Less than 33 per cent of the island's cellphone towers have been restored, according to official data, and it is expected to take months to get the power grid back up.

Ryan, the House speaker, planned to visit Puerto Rico tomorrow.

"President, you seem to want to disregard the moral imperative that your administration has been unable to fulfill", the mayor said in a statement.

Rubio said it is up to the oversight board charged with resolving Puerto Rico's debt crisis to determine how to address the island's debt, noting that private debt owed to investors with legal recourse cannot simply be "forgiven" by the federal government.

A steady series of disasters - massive flooding in Texas, hurricane damage in Florida, and a humanitarian crisis in hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico - could be putting 2017 on track to rival Hurricane Katrina and other 2005 storms as the most costly set of disasters ever. He did not give details of the fourth death.

The nation could "rally" to focus on Puerto Rico's long-neglected economic problems.

The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, says President Donald Trump's criticism of her hurricane-ravaged country is "unbecoming" of a commander in chief.

Velazquez called Thursday's bill a "down payment in helping the response" in Puerto Rico and other areas affected by hurricanes and wildfires.

The EPA says it is assessing "Superfund sites, oil sites, and chemical facilities" inundated by the storm.

Ryan said he didn't know about Trump's tweets.

FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees disaster response in the United States.

Hurricane Maria struck Sept. 20. Conservatives on Capitol Hill issued new calls for spending cuts to help pay for the assistance as well as more transparency about how the money is spent.

The big picture on Puerto Rico's recovery