President Trump on Thursday said his administration cannot help Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria recovery efforts “forever.”
The president added in three tweets that the U.S. territory’s debt and infrastructure problems are complicating the crisis there.
"Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making." says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
...accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
...We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
Maria tore across Puerto Rico late last month, battering the island with 150 mph winds and causing broad devastation.
Ninety percent of Puerto Rico remains without power after the storm, and the island’s government says it hopes to completely restore electricity there by March.
Maria has been blamed for 45 deaths in Puerto Rico, and Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Wednesday that at least four of those are being probed as possible cases of disease.
Rossello noted that a total of 10 people have come down with suspected cases of leptospirosis, which is spread by animals’ urine.
Some of the victims became sick after drinking from local streams to relieve their thirst as a third of customers remain without running water on Puerto Rico after Maria’s passage.
The House, meanwhile, appears on track to pass a $36.5 billion disaster aid package that could benefit Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts.
Thursday’s package includes $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The FEMA funds could be used to help local governments such as Puerto Rico’s with up to $5 billion meant to help them remain functional in Maria’s aftermath.
The bill also boasts $16 billion to help the federal flood insurance program pay off claims related to Hurricane Harvey and $577 million for western firefighting efforts.
Trump’s administration initially faced criticism for the speed with which it addressed Puerto Rico’s recovery after Maria’s landfall there.
The president and his wife visited Puerto Rico last week, touring areas devastated by Maria and viewing the recovery efforts there.
Check out more of Circa's coverage on the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico below: