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Trump lifts shipping restrictions for storm-hit Puerto Rico
29 September 2017, 12:39 | Harold Aguilar
'Apocalyptic' devastation in Puerto Rico; Island faces humanitarian crisis Governor says
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said he petitioned the White House on Wednesday night to temporarily lift the ban.
President Donald Trump waived laws forbidding foreign ships from transporting goods between US ports and Puerto Rico Thursday.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke told reporters outside the White House Thursday that food, water and fuel shortages on the US island are "the fault of the hurricane" and that "the relief effort is under control".
"Right now we are in emergency mode", Rosselló said on Wednesday (Sept. 27) of the devastation that has left millions in Puerto Rico without electricity, clean food and water.
Last night, the chairman of the American Maritime Partnership told CBS4 News, shippers were not in favor of waiving the act. After the president offered support for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico earlier this week, saying the territory was "in deep trouble in part because of problems that predated Hurricane Maria" an opinion piece in the Washington Post bluntly asked "Did Trump Just Figure Out Puerto Ricans are Americans?"
He tweeted that relief supplies are getting through.
A week on from the disaster, at least 97 per cent of the island is believed to still be without power and around half of residents do not have running water.
Shipping company Crowley said it had 3,000 containers there, filled with clothes, food, medicine, water, construction materials and even cars.
Republicans and Democrats had urged Trump to waive a little-known federal law called the Jones Act that prohibits foreign-flagged ships from shuttling goods between USA ports.
But a shortage of truckers and the island's devastated infrastructure are making it tough to move aid to where it's needed most.
McCain sent a letter to the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, on Tuesday arguing the Jones Act should be suspended for good.
"The electric power grid in Puerto Rico is totally shot".
The Wisconsin Republican says he expects the Trump administration to send Congress a request for a long-term recovery package once damage assessments of Puerto Rico are conducted. We'll update as more information becomes available. Large numbers of generators are now on Island.
A barge with 100 defense trucks carrying diesel and gasoline was expected to arrive in San Juan by Monday.
The $40 million in "quick release" funds is meant to restore essential traffic on Puerto Rico's roads and limit further damage, in order to facilitate long-term fix work and recovery efforts.
Image copyright Getty Images How bad is the situation on Puerto Rico?
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