‘This is pretty alarming’: Philly councilwoman returns from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez spent a week in Puerto Rico, where she reunited with family members nearly two months after Hurricane Maria struck.

Listen 5:15

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez has just returned from a weeklong trip to Puerto Rico, where she reunited with family members nearly two months after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island. She discussed what she saw there with NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller.

Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover, said Quiñones-Sánchez. Harsh conditions persist, and most residents still don’t have drinking water. Trash and dead trees still litter the island, and the constant rainfall is only adding to the misery.

“This is pretty alarming, that American citizens are living under these conditions, you know, 45 days in,” she said.

Because relief efforts continue to be slow, many residents are relocating to the mainland United States. Pennsylvania will take in the third-largest number of migrants after New York and Florida, the councilwoman said.

Although Quiñones-Sánchez appreciates the efforts, she said there are great disparities in how the Federal Emergency Management Agency has handled hurricane relief in Puerto Rico compared with communities on the mainland.

“No one asked Texas or Florida about their fiscal debt when it determined what kind of relief efforts they were going to get,” she said.  “So everything FEMA is doing and every condition FEMA is imposing on Puerto Rico is different than what they did in Florida, Texas, or other places.”

You can listen to the entire conversation by clicking the play button above.

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