Former General Criticizes Maria Response

Former General Criticizes Maria Response Promo Image

A former general who is considered to have been a driving force in bolstering the government's response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 has criticized the Trump administration's relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. 

According to Bloomberg News, Russel Honore was a lieutenant general who was named to oversee Katrina relief efforts by former U.S. President George W. Bush. Honore said that in the case of Puerto Rico, the U.S. government should have been more proactive and sent aid to the island before the storm.

"It’s kind of like Katrina: We got it. We got it. Oh, s**t, send in the cavalry," he said.

Most of Puerto Rico is still lacking electricity, with only 11 of 69 hospitals having fuel or power. The Independent also reports that in addition to food and fuel shortages, 44 percent of Puerto Rican residents are currently without clean water. 

Honore said that only the military has the ability and equipment necessary to fully address the situation, also commenting that the Department of Defense should be given more authority over the relief efforts.

According to The Independent, Honore would also step up the scale of the relief efforts, commenting that he would send 50,000 troops to the island. 

"They need to scale up," he said. "In Katrina, I had 20,000 federal troops. Not federal workers, federal troops."

"I had 20 ships and over 240 helicopters," he continued. "And Puerto Rico is bigger than Katrina." 

Honore is not the only person to have expressed discontent with relief efforts in Puerto Rico, with Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz of Florida expressing similar sentiments. 

"It’s wholly inadequate," she said, according to Bloomberg News. "Why we don’t have a Katrina level response mobilizing and gearing up is absolutely beyond me. This is as dire as that was."

According to The Independent, legislator Jose Enrique Melendez, a member of Gov. Ricardo Rossello's New Progressive Party, said the Trump administration is more concerned with making a good impression on media in San Juan than helping rural areas of the island. 

"The federal response has been a disaster," he said. "It's been really slow."

Rossello himself praised Trump's efforts, but told The New York Times that he believes still more needs to be done. 

"I am very pleased with the consideration the president has given to Puerto Rico," he said. "He has been on top of it, at least personally in communication with me and communication with some of our officials as well as his officials. However, we still need more, and the president understands that, and his team understands that."

Sources: Bloomberg News, The Independent, The New York Times / Featured Image: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr / Embedded Images: Air Force Magazine/Flickr, U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos

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