A senior FEMA official defended the agency after a photograph revealed millions of bottles of water the agency had positioned on the island, sitting on a runway a year after Hurricane Maria knocked out critical supply chains.
A FEMA administrator said the bottles, represented on one platform after another on a Puerto Rican runway and covered in blue plastic, were considered surplus.
FEMA deputy director Daniel Kaniewski told "CBS This Morning" that: "They are leftover water bottles, they were not necessary during the response phase and they were not distributed by the governor of Puerto Rico or FEMA for that reason."
A senior FEMA official defended the agency after a photograph revealed millions of bottles of water the agency placed in Puerto Rico sitting on a runway one year after Hurricane Maria devastated the island
The network published aerial images published by Abdiel Santana, of the United Rapid Action agency, a part of the Puerto Rican police force.
Kaniewski defended the decision, in the midst of a tense moment for the agency, while President Trump praised the hurricane's handling by the agency and disputed an analysis that calculated the figure of almost 3,000 people, while Hurricane Florence began to hit the Carolinas.
"I'm sure those who needed those bottles of water got them during the response phase and these were excess water bottles that, again, were transferred to save money for the US taxpayer in January," Kaniewski said.
The water was considered "excess", according to FEMA, and said that they were transferred to save taxpayers' money
The bottled war attracted attention after President Trump praised the response to the hurricane when another storm was preparing to hit the Carolinas.
Carlos Mercader, head of the Federal Affairs Administration of Puerto Rico, said in a statement that FEMA did not deliver the bottles to the Puerto Rican government until April, newspaper USA Today reported. When 700 bottles were sent, residents complained about the smell and were considered unfit for consumption.
Another FEMA official told CBS: & # 39; & # 39; Yes [FEMA] put that water on that track, there will be hell to pay … If we did, we will confess it.
Angel Cruz Ramos, the mayor of Ceiba, the city that includes the airstrip, told CNN that it was too much water to be useful and arrived at the wrong time: "Time and heat have made it bad".
President Donald Trump praised the response to the hurricane and rejected the death toll of nearly 3,000.
The local mayor told CNN that the heat spoiled the bottled water
Trump tweeted this week: "We received A Pluses because of our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and we did a great job that was not appreciated in Puerto Rico, despite being an inaccessible island with very little electricity and a mayor of San Francisco. Juan totally incompetent). We are ready for the big event that is to come!
Then, on Tuesday, he praised Maria's response and said: "In fact, I think it was one of the best jobs there has been in terms of what this is all about."
Trump continued to tweet about the death toll on Thursday, when Hurricane Florence rushed toward the Carolinas.
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
"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico," the president wrote.
"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;
This was done by the Democrats to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising billions of dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, such as old age, simply add it to the list. Bad policy I love Puerto Rico!
Half of Puerto Ricans surveyed in a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll said they could not get enough water during the storm and were concerned about water quality.