SAN JUAN – New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo described as shameful and incomplete the aid provided by the US federal government to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria raged across the island 10 months ago.
Cuomo is making his fifth visit to the US commonwealth in the Caribbean since the storm devastated the island to gauge the progress of reconstruction efforts backed by New York state, which is home to a large population of Puerto Ricans.
The governor, who served as federal secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the administration of President Bill Clinton, cited that experience in criticizing Washington’s response to Maria.
“I had also done all of the emergency work during my eight years with the federal government,” Cuomo said. “So I saw what the federal government can do.
“I saw what FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) can do. And what FEMA was doing here on the island was not the federal government’s best effort. They were not prepared. They hadn’t done the work before the event they should have done. They were very slow to their response. And they were basically ineffective and anemic,” he said.
“I said, even in the weeks after the hurricane that the federal response was lacking and that the federal government should be ashamed of itself,” Cuomo continued.
Because of all that, Cuomo said President Donald Trump should apologize to all Puerto Ricans.
He pointed out that Puerto Rico has received less than 10 percent of the $94 billion San Juan requested from Washington to finance storm recovery and reconstruction.
After the hurricane, the New York state government has sent more than 1,000 of its officials and employees to the island, including police, health professionals, and utility workers to restore the electricity that was totally knocked out by Maria’s high winds.