- Aerial images shot by the news agency Agence France Presse show tens of thousands of expired water bottles that were meant for hurricane victims in 2017.
- The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has confirmed that it provided the water, and that it’s now expired and will be disposed of.
- Last September, a photographer with a local police agency shot images of a similar stockpile of water on a runway in the city of Ceiba.
- Nearly 3,000 people died in the hurricane, and researchers have said the lack of access to medical care and clean water were some of the main causes.
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Nearly two years after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and left roughly 3,000 people dead, aerial images shot by the news agency AFP show that tens of thousands of water bottles meant for victims have been lying abandoned in a field.
AFP reported that the water bottles are on a farm in the Dorado neighbourhood of Higuillar.
It’s not the first time mass amounts of abandoned water bottles have been discovered by photographers. Last September, a photographer with a local police agency shot images of a similar stockpile of water on a runway in the city of Ceiba.
A spokesman with the US Federal Emergency Management Agency confirmed to AFP that it had provided the water bottles found in the Higuillar field, and that the water is now expired.
The agency also told CBS News reported David Begnaud on Monday that it had a “surplus of water in its inventories that is now near or passed their expiration dates,” they are aiming to dispose of the water bottles by September 2019.
“FEMA followed federal acquisition processes in order to dispose of the expiring water that included offers to federal and territorial governments and public auction,” the agency told Begnaud. “As a final step in the process, FEMA contracted to have the expired water removed and disposed.”
AFP reported that the spokesman would not give details on how much water was on the field, how long it had been there, and why officials allowed it to expire rather than distribute it.
The US government’s response to Hurricane Maria in 2017 drew widespread criticism in the wake of the deaths, which researchers have attributed largely to power failures and a lack of access to medical care and clean water.
- Read more:
- White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley calls Puerto Rico – a US territory – ‘that country’ while defending Trump’s treatment of the island
- Former officials worry that by making natural disasters political Trump is making things dangerous for people trying to recover on the ground
- Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló resigns as mass protests over profane text messages force him from office
- Wanda Vázquez, who is poised become Puerto Rico governor, is facing heat before even taking office: Here’s why
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