Pentagon sending general to Puerto Rico

Katrina Barker
October 3, 2017

Buchanan is a three-star general and the commander of US Army North (5th Army).

"The logistics chain is broken and only the US military can stand it up", Rubio said on CNN.

Rubio said that the only solution would be to temporarily put the military in charge of the logistical response, and said he has urged President Donald Trump to make that decision.

Rubio also defended the administration, which he said had responded to the storm and was providing the relief Puerto Rico needed, and repeated his belief the Department of Defense needs to take over in the short term while the federal response must be more encompassing.

Rubio, who visited the storm-ravaged island this week, cited the fact that aid is everywhere, sitting at ports, but that it can't be distributed because of the lack of power and communications and because roads are not passable.

"It's chaos, total chaos", said Radamez MontaƱez, a building administrator from Carolina, east of capital city San Juan, who has been without water and electricity at home since Hurricane Irma grazed the island two weeks before Maria.

The mayor of San Juan called on Trump to ramp up the federal government's assistance to the island and called for an island-wide approach to the relief efforts.

The humanitarian mission, offered free of charge, was arranged between Royal Caribbean International and Puerto Rican authorities on a largely ad-hoc, first-come basis that sought to give some priority to those facing special hardships.

"The logistical chain in Puerto Rico isn't just broken, at this point it is virtually non-existent", Rubio said. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump temporarily lifted a century-old law -- known as the Jones Act -- that requires cargo between USA ports to be carried on American-flagged ships.

In Puerto Rico, response operations continue as synchronization of efforts between the Title 10 forces, Puerto Rico National Guard and FEMA improve. While that measure might help speed cargo shipments, Puerto Rico is struggling to move supplies around the island once they arrive.

Fellow Florida Sen. Bill Nelson echoed Rubio's comments in a statement Thursday.

The immediate relief effort was still badly hampered by the damage to infrastructure.

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.

On Thursday, the White House authorized a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act, a federal law that limits shipping to United States ports by foreign vessels.

Cornelio also said the number of open gas stations has increased from about 400 to 676.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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