The Trump administration has removed statistics from a federal website that revealed how dire the crisis in Puerto Rico remains in the wake of Hurricane Maria, according to a new report.
As Jenna Johnson reports for the Washington Post, sometime between Wednesday and Thursday morning, the Federal Emergency Management Agency removed information that showed only half of Puerto Ricans have access to water and only 5 percent of the island has electricity. The website was set up to document the federal response to the hurricane.
A FEMA spokesperson told the Post that information about the electricity and water access are still publicly accessible on Status.pr, a site run by Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. That website is in Spanish.
On Friday, House Democrats criticized Trump’s administration for the removal of the information. “In response to the complete devastation in Puerto Rico, we have seen President Trump focus more on his public perception than on actually providing life-saving food, water, electricity, and medical aid to the Puerto Rican people whose lives are on the line,” Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), chair of the Hispanic Caucus, said in an email to Vox. “I am outraged by the lack of transparency.”
President Trump has praised his administration’s “amazing” response to the hurricane, tweeting that the White House is doing “a GREAT job.” But as Vox’s Alexia Fernández Campbell has reported, the Trump administration has been slow to respond at virtually every step:
To say the White House has been slow to respond to the massive humanitarian crisis happening in Puerto Rico right now is an understatement.
A week after the Category 4 storm devastated the island, more than half of its residents still have no drinking water or cellphone service, and nearly all private homes and businesses have no power. Meanwhile, President Trump has authorized only the minimal response to help the US territory through [FEMA].
Since then, any extra steps he’s taken have come largely in response to massive public pressure — from the press, social media, petitions, and members of Congress. …
As the days passed, news reports began to describe mass hysteria on the island. Entire communities had run out of food and water. The pressure grew stronger. Americans asked the president to do specific things: A finance administrator in Colorado launched a social media campaign to urge the military to send a naval medical ship to the island. A law student in Florida got nearly 500,000 signatures on a letter asking Trump to waive restrictions on ships delivering goods to Puerto Rico.
Trump eventuallygave in to the repeated requests. The ship, the USNS Comfort, is scheduled to arrive next week. Trump temporarily waived the Jones Act, a 97-year-old law that makes it expensive to ship goods from the mainland to Puerto Rico. …
“People should keep putting pressure on their elected officials to make sure Puerto Rico is not forgotten,” said Rick Trilsch, who created a petition asking the military to send the USNS Comfort to Puerto Rico.