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‘We Are Dying and You Are Killing Us.’ San Juan Mayor Slams White House Response to Hurricane Maria

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San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz slammed the U.S. government’s response to Hurricane Maria, which ravaged Puerto Rico on Sept. 20., in an emotional plea for help.

“I am begging you. Begging anyone that can hear us to save us from dying,” Cruz said during a press conference Friday. “If anybody out there is listening, we are dying. And you are killing us with the inefficiency.”

The White House has been criticized for not paying attention to Puerto Rico since Maria hit the island. President Donald Trump, who has voiced solidarity with Puerto Rico, also directed attention to the island’s pre-hurricane debt burden and infrastructure issues, casting doubt on how much the federal government will help. Trump has said the U.S. is “fully engaged in the disaster and the response and recovery effort.”

Addressing Trump directly, Cruz asked for him to make sure someone is in charge who is “up to the task of saving lives” in Puerto Rico.

“When it comes to saving lives, we are all part of one community of shared values,” she said.


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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com