SAN JUAN (AP) – A US government report released Thursday revealed that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mismanaged food distribution in Puerto Rico after the damage caused by the hurricanes. Irma and María, which led to delays in the delivery of food and water.
The Office of the Inspector General indicated that on average it took more than two months for the food to reach its final destination that FEMA lost track of about 40% of its shipments to the US territory valued at more than 250 million dollars. About 98% of those shipments were food and water, according to the report.
“Given the loss of trace and the delay of shipments, FEMA is not able to guarantee that the merchandise has been delivered to the survivors of the disaster in Puerto Rico as needed to sustain life and mitigate suffering,” reads the report.
Officials said the food remained in FEMA custody for about 48 days, and the water and food were delayed in shipping for 71 to 59 days, respectively.
The Office of the Inspector General added that it conducted a survey that revealed that it took FEMA an average of 10 days after the hurricanes to deliver the first food and water to those affected. Officials stressed that although the supplies were dumped by air immediately after the disaster, “the quantities were insufficient to meet the needs of the survivors.”
Hurricane Irma skirted the north coast of Puerto Rico in early September 2017 as a Category 5 storm, causing damage that exceeded $ 700 million, killing at least four people and leaving more than one without power. million inhabitants. Two weeks later, Hurricane Maria struck as a powerful Category 4 storm, destroying the electrical grid, causing damage valued at about $ 100 billion and killing approximately 2,975 people. Reconstruction of the affected areas continues to date.