A photographer claimed to have discovered a stockpile of bottled water sitting on a tarmac in Puerto Rico.
A year later, the photographer said the water was still there.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency reportedly told CBS News correspondent David Begnaud that it provided the water to the central government in response to Hurricane Maria in 2017, but it is unclear what kept the water from being distributed.
Many of the deaths in the aftermath of Maria were attributed to power outages, and limited access to heath care and clean drinking water.
A photographer working for a Puerto Rican police agency reportedly caught a glimpse of a stockpile of bottled water on a runaway in the city of Ceiba. The water was believed to be part of relief efforts after Hurricane Maria wrought devastation on the US territory in September 2017.
A year later, the photographer, Abdiel Santana, said the stockpile of what could be millions of water bottles were still standing on the tarmac.
The bottles were reportedly provided by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency and turned over to the central government last year, according to CBS News correspondent David Begnaud, who first reported on the revelation.
“The water was kept in an area that was pretty hard hit during the storm, and could have used all the water they could have gotten,” Begnaud said in a video report.
Santana said he shared his photos online, knowing that it would spark outrage — the same emotions he felt after discovering the bottles remained untouched, according to Begnaud.
Nearly 3,000 people are believed to have died in the aftermath of Maria, making it the second-deadliest storm in the US. Many of the deaths were attributed to power outages and a lack of access to health care and clean water, according to a study from the George Washington University.
The Puerto Rican government initially cited 64 deaths from Maria, a number that skeptics have disputed. The government also withheld data for its figures, forcing news organizations like CNN to take legal action.
The apparent bureaucratic breakdown comes as another looming natural disaster bears down on the US East Coast. Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm, is expected to hit North Carolina with the potential for 130 mph winds, a massive storm surge and heavy rains late Thursday night or early Friday morning.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump boasted about his administration’s response to Maria: “Puerto Rico was incredibly successful,” Trump said, pointing to some of the problems the region had prior to the hurricane. “It was one of the best jobs that’s ever been done with respect to what this is all about.”
Trump earned some heavy criticism for those remarks, including from the outspoken mayor of San Juan, Carmen Cruz, on Tuesday night.
SEE ALSO: ‘God bless us all if this man continues on this path’: Puerto Rican mayor rips into Trump’s disaster-relief effort amid Hurricane Florence
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Source:: Business Insider