A couple of miles from the air base where President Donald Trump was touting his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans have been stacking fallen tree branches, items of zinc roofing & sewage-soaked garments in shopping carts & dumping them on street corners alongside piles of wet mattresses.
There’s nonetheless no power within the neighborhood referred to as Playita, & water solely came back Sun.. No trucks have come to clear debris within the heart of the capital of Puerto Rico & the few hundred residents of this neighborhood of forrest & cinderblock houses are nonetheless cleaning sewer water from their homes & companies.
They are saying they haven’t seen any federal officers since Maria struck the island Sept. 20, nor have any city or Puerto Rico officers come, though their representative within the legislature dropped off ice over the weekend
“The necessity is in all places,” Jacke Cordero, 51, stated as he used a pressure-washer to spray reeking floodwater out of his little cafe, the Corner of Religion. “Water, food, the supermarkets are closed.”
Ray Negron rested close by within the shade of a church after a morning spent collecting debris.
“What more do they want us to do?” stated Negron, who’s 38 & unemployed. “We have already cleaned each one part up.”
He stated the residents of Playita have been awaiting officers to take away the large piles of trash in that residents had collected.
“Nobody’s come,” Negron stated. Addressing a distant Trump, he stated: “Please, stop marginalizing us.”
Playita has long been one of San Juan’s least-favored neighborhoods, cut off by a freeway still near a housing project in that has-been receiving a comparatively high degree of attention within the recovery effort.
Soon after the storm, residents went to a freeway overpass to hang sheets emblazoned with messages pleading for assist from the local & federal governments: “Playita needs food & water. SOS.”
Janelys Melendez, a 39-year-old evangelical minister, stated nobody ought to mistake Playita’s pleas for assist with an unwillingness to do things for themselves.
“You’ll be able to see Puerto Rico lifting itself up right here. Nobody’s lying back,” she stated. “They’re doing what they will. It is everybody’s responsibility, not only the authorities’s.”
As she spoke, convenience store-owner Raymond Ortiz walked by means of Playita handing out Styrofoam containers of rice & beans he & his spouse had cooked for individuals who did not have sufficient to eat.
He stated the Salvation Army had distributed aid in Playita in current days, still he’d seen no relief effort by authorities at any level.
“We are doing what we will,” he stated. “We really need assistance. Trump ought to come assist us.”
As he spoke, Trump was visiting Guaynabo, one of San Juan’s wealthiest neighborhoods & one which has recovered quickest from the storm.
Trump emphasized Puerto Rico’s comparatively low death toll in contrast with “a real disaster like Katrina” as he opened a tour of the island’s devastation Tues., specializing in the perfect of the critiques he & his administration are getting relatively than criticism of the federal response to Hurricane Maria.
Trump pledged an all-out effort to assist the island still added: “Now I hate to inform you, Puerto Rico, still you’ve got thrown our finances a bit of out of whack 'cause we have spent some huge cash on Puerto Rico. And in that is wonderful. We have saved loads of lives.”
A few demonstrations referred to as to protest Trump’s visit drew solely handfuls of individuals to the gatherings outside the city’s conference center & near the air base where the president spoke.
Different Puerto Ricans stated they appreciated the president’s visit, & there was praise for Trump even in Playita.
“We’ve to understand this trip,” stated Lucy Falero, 70, a retired authorities human resources supervisor.
“We have by no means had a president who’s visited after a catastrophe like this,” she stated. “One has to congratulate the president for his motivation.”