Puerto Rico mayor Cruz begs for solar-powered supplies on CNN; slams acting Homeland Security head

  • Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
12:46 p.m Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 National/World News

The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, reacted on Friday with anger to comments by acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, who said the recovery on the island is “a good news story” in terms of being able to reach people.

“She said that?” San Juan Mayor Carmon Yulin Cruz asked twice during an interview on “New Day” on CNN.

“Well, maybe from where she is standing it’s a good news story. When you are drinking from a creek, it’s not a good-news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good-news story," Cruz said. "When you have to pull people down from a building … I’m sorry but that upsets me.

“Damn it, this is not a good-news story. This is a people-are-dying story … where is the good news here?”

AP Photo/Luis Alonso Lugo
Acting Homeland Secretary Elaine Duke, center, is briefed on the Hurricane Maria response during a flight to Puerto Rico on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. President Donald Trump on Thursday cleared the way for more supplies to head to Puerto Rico by waiving restrictions on foreign ships delivering cargo to the island.

Cruz said that while Duke’s comments were upsetting, she did get a call from the White House about moving supplies more quickly to the island for distribution.

“I know the FEMA people are working hard and they’re doing their best, so this is a message for President Trump, thank you for calling San Juan yesterday and listening for our mayday call,” Cruz said. “But sir, there’s 77 other towns that are waiting.

“They’re waiting anxiously and will be very grateful to you and to the American people if you continue to step up to the moral imperative that you’ve taken on all over the world to help those in need. So help us.”

Cruz asked for any help the American people can offer. She said that if anyone can send anything solar-powered, she would pick it up and distribute it. As of Friday, it was unclear if such devices could reach the island.

Tesla, Inc., is sending Puerto Rico hundreds of its Powerwall battery systems that can be paired with solar panels to help restore electric power to the island, according to a story from Bloomberg. Some of the systems are already there and others are on the way.

Tesla produces electric cars and batteries for rooftop solar systems.

At the end of the interview, Cruz reiterated that she is appreciative of the U.S. government’s efforts, but the situation remains desperate.

“Again, Mr. Trump, we appreciate everything you are doing and we know it can be done faster,” Cruz said. “Help us save lives. We will be forever grateful.”
If you want to help

Here are some agencies that are helping in the recovery effort in Puerto Rico.
American Red Cross: Click here to donate.
Salvation Army: Click here to donate.
ConPRmetidos: Click here to donate.
Global Giving: Click here to donate.
Americares: Click here to donate.
See the full interview with Cruz below.

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