Just as Hurricane Florence created a new emergency on the East Coast, federal workers were to begin evicting the victims of the storm that ravaged Puerto Rico a year ago from the hotel rooms they had been calling home.
Workers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency were to evict 987 families from their extended-stay shelters on Friday, according to NBC News, displacing dozens of women and children who have nowhere else to live.
Lenisha Smith, a spokeswoman for FEMA told NBC, "The hurricane was almost a year ago. This is not a long-term program, it's supposed to be temporary. "
Just as Hurricane Florence created a new emergency along the East Coast, federal workers must begin to expel victims of the storm that struck Puerto Rico a year ago from the hotel rooms they have been calling home.
The workers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency had to evict 987 families from their extended-stay accommodations on Friday, displacing Puerto Ricans like José Santiago (pictured) who will have no other place to live.
Maria arrived in Puerto Rico a year ago next week on September 20, 2017. Families have continued to struggle with power cuts and clean water supplies from
In this file photo of October 5, 2017, Roberto Figueroa Caballero sits in his house destroyed by Hurricane Maria, two weeks after the storm hit the neighborhood of La Perla on the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Approximately 8,000 families remain without reliable water service from last month
Maria arrived in Puerto Rico a year ago next week on September 20, 2017. Families have continued to struggle with power cuts and the supply of drinking water since then.
Approximately 8,000 families remain without reliable water service, a report said this week in The Washington Post.
Many families moved to the mainland after the storm destroyed their homes, with around 130,000 people leaving the island.
FEMA is offering some of these families rent assistance if they return to Puerto Rico instead of paying for their expensive hotel rooms in the United States.
Each family was offered a one-way plane ticket to Puerto Rico, where they have access to more government services. But the ticket offer expires on Friday, NBC reported.
Some families have found themselves homeless as a result, according to the report, or in a mad rush to find new accommodation before entering a shelter.
The predetermined deadline had the unfortunate moment of coinciding with another storm on the east coast, Hurricane Florence, and a claim by President Trump that the Democrats inflated the death toll in Puerto Rico to embarrass his administration.
Trump's claim, which did not align with the facts, caused Florida Republicans, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, to distance themselves from the president.
The president gave his administration an A + for his relief efforts and called it an "unrecognized success". He said he would contribute billions to the effort to rebuild Puerto Rico, which is a US territory but not a state.
"If a person died for some reason, such as old age, simply add it to the list," he said, referring to the 3,000 residents whose cause of death was linked to Maria. & # 39; Bad policy. I love Puerto Rico, "he tweeted.
Trump refused to retract the claim and received a backup Thursday night from Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs, who said a widely cited study published by George Washington University served as the basis for claims that 3,000 had deceased referred to estimates and probably included an inaccurate death toll.
Dobbs pointed out the study commissioned by the Puerto Rican government on Thursday and said: "The president, by the way, is right … The figures were inflated and the president was right to call the organizations that threw the science, statistics and evidence to discredit to the Trump administration & # 39;
Trump declares that the number of 3,000 dead in Puerto Rico is inflated and retweeted a segment by Lou Dobbs of Fox News backing his statement on Thursday
In his segment, Dobbs said: "The figures were inflated and the president was right to call organizations that threw science, statistics and evidence to discredit the Trump administration."
Early on Thursday Trump expressed on Twitter that the 3,000 were inflated and exaggerated
He stated that the exaggeration was designed by the Democrats to portray the president in a bad light after Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
"The finding was not the result of a death count, a corpse count or a study of death certificates, but a public health study that subtracted the number of people who theoretically should have died in the same period as of number of people who were reported dead during that period, "Dobbs said.
He said that after the Milken Institute report, the governor of Puerto Rico amended the death toll from a previous count of 64 to 3,000.
Lynn Goldman, the dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health, shared the results of the study with CNN last month, but said more work was needed to get an accurate estimate.
Although the number may not be as high as 3,000, the Puerto Rican government has submitted that the official toll was higher than the count of December 64, 2017.
In an August document, he said 1,427 more than normal deaths occurred in the last four months after Hurricane Maria and Irma, compared with the death rates over the past four years.
On Thursday morning, the president exploded on Twitter and said that the 3,000 Puerto Rican hurricane deaths were inflated and exaggerated.
"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico," Trump tweeted.
President Donald Trump now says that the number of deaths accepted by the hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico in 2017 is inflated, and affirms that the Democrats are taking advantage of the number "to make me look bad"
The Puerto Ricans had to leave the rubble in the wake of Hurricane Maria last year in dangerous conditions after losing power, running water and cell phone service
"When I left the island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had between 6 and 18. Over time, it did not rise too much, then, a long time later, they started reporting really big numbers, like 3000. & # 39;
Trump said: "This was done by the Democrats to make me stay as bad as possible."
After Trump was examined for comments that were perceived as insensitive to the victims of the storm, the White House said the president was responding to media coverage of the storm.
& # 39; As the president said, every death by Hurricane Maria is a horror. Before, during and after the two massive hurricanes, the President ordered the entire Administration to provide unprecedented support to Puerto Rico, "said White House spokesman Hogan Gidley.
Gidley added: "President Trump was responding to the liberal media and the mayor of San Juan, who, sadly, has tried to exploit the devastation through a constant stream of misinformation and false accusations."
The Milken study compared mortality in the six months after the storm with the number of deaths that would have been expected had it not arrived on the island.
"The difference between these two numbers is the estimate of excess mortality due to the hurricane," the scientists wrote.
The risk of dying during the storm or later was 60 percent higher for Puerto Ricans living in the poorest areas, they found.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, told reporters Thursday morning that "there is no reason to dispute these numbers."
But Ryan also denied that the death toll by thousands poorly reflects Trump, saying "casualties do not make a person look bad."
The mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, a Democrat who became entangled with the president again and again while Hurricane Maria was international news, also responded on Thursday.
Dobbs said the George Washington University study did not cite a count of deaths, a count of corpses, or a study of death certificates, the damage of Catani, Puerto Rico, in the photo above
A shelter is shown before the arrival of Hurricane Maria. The approximate number of casualties after the hurricane has not yet been calculated, since the George Washington study was actually an estimate of the "excess of deaths" & # 39;
The mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, tweeted that Trump is "delirious, paranoid and deranged of any sense of reality" on Thursday
"This is what denial looks like after abandonment: Mr. Pres in the real world, people died under your supervision, YOUR FAULT OF RESPECT IS POWERFUL!" She tweeted.
"Mr. Trump, you can try to intimidate us with your tweets, BUT WE KNOW THAT OUR LIVES ARE IMPORTANT, you will never take away our self-respect … What a shame!
Yulín Cruz then called Trump "delirious, paranoid and deranged of any sense of reality."
The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, said on Thursday that his government commissioned the study of George Washington University. "We trust that estimate," he told CBS News.
"There are still more than 45,000 people without a roof, still a weak energy network," he said of US territory in the Caribbean Sea. "If we have another devastation, it is likely to collapse."
Mayor Yulín Cruz of San Juan, Puerto Rico lashed out at Trump on Thursday, calling him deluded and distant from reality
FEMA administrator Brock Long said Wednesday on MSNBC that "indirect deaths" they are often more numerous than deaths caused immediately by a natural disaster.
"There are people who died after the storm passed because they fell from the roof doing repairs, they died in car accidents because the traffic lights were off, you have accidents with chainsaws, you have accidents with people cleaning debris," he said.
A team of researchers from Harvard University announced in May that they believed the death toll from Hurricane Maria was 4,600. At that time, the death toll of the government was 64.
Trump said on Wednesday that his administration is ready for Hurricane Florence, a storm that ravages the Carolina coast, and insisted that his administration's widely-analyzed response to the devastation in Puerto Rico last year was a "great little-appreciated job." "
"We received an advantage in our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and we did a great job, not appreciated in Puerto Rico, despite being an inaccessible island with very little electricity and a totally incompetent mayor of San Juan)," Trump tweeted. .
At the Oval Office on Tuesday, the president praised his administration's response to the series of storms in 2017. "I think Puerto Rico was an incredible success, not recognized," he said.