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How to rebuild Puerto Rico: Rubio asks Trump to call in experts

13 Octubre 2017

Bridgeport city officials say they're seeing an influx of Puerto Ricans arriving locally to escape the devastation of Hurricane Maria - and now many of them are enrolling their children in local schools.

Forty-five deaths in Puerto Rico have been blamed on Maria, about 85 percent of Puerto Rico residents still lack electricity and the government says it hopes to have electricity restored completely by March.

Trump has pushed back hard at criticism of his administration's initial response to the disaster, accusing the media of exaggerating the devastation and minimizing relief efforts led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with support from the Defense Department. Part of the reason: School officials in Puerto Rico told him classes wouldn't resume until January.

"I know people are concerned that not every state's need is met, but this is, I think, a good step in the right direction", Frelinghuysen said of the current measure. But Trump's tweets on Thursday raised questions about whether the U.S. resolve.

Almost $5 billion of the funding could be used to help the government of Puerto Rico and its local jurisdictions stay functional as they endure unsustainable cash shortfalls in the aftermath of Maria.

Thursday's debate was also a preview of some serious political griping that lies ahead on both sides of the aisle, and the complaints have the potential to interfere with future efforts to get aid to areas in desperate need of assistance.

Trump criticized Puerto Rico for "a total lack of accountability", saying "electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes".

Ryan spoke hours after President Donald Trump suggested on Twitter that the federal role in assisting the island would be limited.

The nation could "rally" to focus on Puerto Rico's long-neglected economic problems.

"We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!", Trump tweeted, in one of a series of morning posts expressing frustration with the situation in the US territory of 3.4 million people.

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FEMA says there are currently some 19,000 federal civilian personnel and military service members - including more than 1,400 FEMA personnel - working in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Ryan says "we've got to do more to help Puerto Rico rebuild its own economy" but that the immediate humanitarian crisis must be addressed. The death toll in Florida after Hurricane Irma, which made landfall on Sept. 10, also reached 75, the Miami Herald reported, not counting the more than 38 people who died in the Caribbean.

The drive started Thursday and will end Oct. 27.

How to rebuild Puerto Rico: Rubio asks Trump to call in experts