Acting Homeland Security Administration Secretary Elaine Duke flew to hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico on Friday, reassuring residents the federal government understands the severity of the ongoing human catastrophe facing the USA territory.
"Most of our nursing homes have people that have an inability to move, so they're stuck in the 14th floor, they have no water, they have no food, they - majority are insulin-dependent", she said. "I am proud of the work DOD and FEMA and the territory, along with first responders, are doing", she said, referring to the Pentagon and the United States disaster relief agency.
Ricardo Ramos, the head of Puerto Rico's power authority, said Friday that electricity has been restored to just 4.5 per cent of the population. But he warned that the U.S. Congress would need to help rebuild the island.
"This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water", he said.
"We need to prepare ourselves for a mass transfer of people", said Asencio.
"Basically the whole day goes by doing these simple errands", he says.
The military has delivered fuel to nine hospitals and helped establish more than 100 distribution centers for food and water on the island, the Pentagon said on Thursday. It's hard to imagine 3 million Americans in Texas, or California, or NY being left without power and running water being treated to the same feeble attention. "Food and water on site", he wrote.
"It's been total devastation", Trump said.
Puerto Rican students on Ohio State's campus were devastated by the news of Hurricane Maria destroying Puerto Rico.
Puerto Ricans received US citizenship 100 years ago, in 1917.
What the East Coast Should Expect From Hurricane Maria
This weather is only the latest tropical blow to the Outer Banks, among the most fragile islands in the continental United States. Maria hit Puerto Rico as a major Category 4 hurricane last week and claimed dozens of lives in its rampage across the Caribbean.
Puerto Rico's governor and USA lawmakers had urged the move to help get supplies to the island quicker and at less cost.
In the series of early morning tweets, Trump again lauded the federal government's response on the island, which is still grappling with the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said she signed the waiver of a federal law called the Jones Act to clear the way for foreign-flagged ships to deliver supplies between USA ports.
FEMA said full air traffic control services had been restored to the main worldwide airport in San Juan, allowing for more than a dozen commercial flights a day, although that figure represented a fraction of the airport's normal business.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced Friday afternoon that he has directed the Maryland National Guard to send resources requested by Puerto Rico to help in the relief efforts. "I'm glad you raised those points about his bankruptcies, and for him to raise that issue at this moment, tone-deaf doesn't begin to explain how out of touch he is".
Asked about stories that suggested a disconnect between how the Trump Administration sees the aid effort, and press stories from the ground in Puerto Rico, White House officials - and the President - continued to make the case that they are doing a good job in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
The Navy's hospital ship Comfort departs from Norfolk, Va., to support hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
And even today I received supplies from Puerto Rico that we'll distribute tomorrow. According to her biography, 61 percent of Puerto Ricans are in favor of Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state.
Amid the tragedy, Trump said the one bright spot so far is the ability of relief and rescue crews to keep the hurricane-related death toll to a minimum.