Millions of water bottles destined for the victims of Hurricane Maria have been found on the airstrip in Puerto Rico almost a year after the disaster.
In a series of striking photographs, large portions of an airstrip at La Ceiba on the island are completely covered by bottles in boxes and covered by a blue tarpaulin beneath which are pallets containing bottles of drinking water.
The images came on Tuesday after President Donald Trump began praising the government's response to Maria during a meeting with senior DHS and FEMA officials.
A year later, and in the middle of the hurricane season, once again, the federal response to Hurricane Maria has come under greater scrutiny.
Millions of water bottles destined for Hurricane Maria victims remain on the runway
A year later, and in the middle of the hurricane season, once again, the federal response to Hurricane Maria has been the object of a deeper analysis.
On Wednesday he doubled, blaming the "incompetent Mayor of San Juan" for the slow recovery
So far, there has been no logical explanation as to why the bottles were not distributed to those who needed it most.
"Even if you do not believe it … almost a million boxes of water that were never delivered to the villages," said Abdiel Santana, a photographer who works for a Puerto Rican state police agency that took the photos.
<I> Is there anyone who can explain this? </ I>
Marty Bahmonde, a senior FEMA official, told CBS News that after the agency delivered the water to the island, it is not clear what happened after that time.
Bahmonde said that specific shipments of water bottles are not tracked.
Trump was mocked for throwing rolls of paper towels to a crowd at Calvary Chapel in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, during his visit in October 2017
Abdiel Santana, a photographer who works for a Puerto Rican police agency took the photos
FEMA provided water to the central government in response to Maria in 2017 and US military personnel were assumed to be responsible. UU Help organize help and supplies for affected residents
Many of the almost 3,000 deaths due to María were attributed to power failures and lack of access to health services and drinking water, which makes the massive accumulation of water bottles even more disconcerting and frustrating.
Santana took the pictures on Tuesday and posted them on his Facebook because he was angry because he still saw the bottles there that had been in the same place since last October.
The General Services Administration (GSA) says it requested an excess water inventory from FEMA through the GSA Surplus Property program in the United States.
GSA administrator for Puerto Rico, Ottmar Chavez, said FEMA reported that he had an excess of bottled water in May 2018, before I was the agency administrator.
"I think Puerto Rico was an incredible success without success," President Trump said Tuesday, ignoring nearly 3,000 deaths from Hurricane Maria.
It is not clear what prevented the water from being distributed to those who needed it
Chavez said he only noticed the bottled water on Tuesday and did not know why he was there or how long he was sitting.
However, he claimed that a couple of complaints had been received about the taste and smell of the water.
Last month, the governor of Puerto Rico raised the official death toll from the US territory of Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975, making it the second most lethal storm in the United States. UU
It is also estimated that the storm, which devastated the territory last September, caused damages worth 100 billion dollars.
Many of the later deaths were blamed for power failures and limited access to health services and clean water