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Containers of Hurricane Donations Found Rotting in Puerto Rico Parking Lot

Posted on Saturday, 11th August 2018 @ 06:13 PM by Text Size A | A | A

SAN JUAN, P.R. — At least 10 trailers full of food, water and baby supplies donated for victims of Hurricane Maria were left to rot at a state elections office in Puerto Rico, where they broke open and became infested by rats.

Radio Isla, a local radio station, posted a video Friday showing cases of beans, water, Tylenol and other goods covered in rat and lizard droppings.

The Puerto Rico elections commission offices had been used as a collection center for goods donated from around the country for victims of the devastating hurricane that struck the island last year. For weeks, hurricane survivors lacked running water and electricity. Widespread power failures and a severe diesel shortage kept stores, restaurants and banks closed, making it difficult for people to purchase groceries.

Records show that an additional 1,427 people died in the months after the storm, compared to previous years.

The goods donated by private entities and nonprofit groups were collected at the elections commission offices, and then distributed by the National Guard. Once the crisis subsided, goods were moved to trailers in the parking lot of the election bureau’s San Juan offices but apparently not delivered, despite continuing problems on the island. Authorities on Friday acknowledged that they have been there for nearly a year.

“I agree, it should have been handed out as soon as possible,” said Maj. Paul Dahlen, a spokesman for the National Guard.

He said some of the materials arrived after the National Guard ended its mission in May. He could not explain why no other agency distributed the materials after that.

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