Oxfam issues alarming statement on Trump’s response to Puerto Rico

An international non-profit organization unhappy with the Trump administration’s slow response to hurricane damage in Puerto Rico announced it would be staging its own relief efforts to pick up the slack.

Oxfam America, which normally carries out humanitarian missions in developing countries, will be coordinating an aid campaign with local leaders in Puerto Rico as well as federal lawmakers. Oxfam America President Abby Maxman said her organization was “outraged” at the Trump administration’s “slow and inadequate response.”

Maxman released the statement on Monday ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit on Tuesday to the island territory:

Clean water, food, fuel, electricity, and healthcare are in desperately short supply and quickly dwindling, and we’re hearing excuses and criticism from the administration instead of a cohesive and compassionate response. The US has more than enough resources to mobilize an emergency response but has failed to do so in a swift and robust manner. Oxfam rarely responds to humanitarian emergencies in the US and other wealthy countries, but as the situation in Puerto Rico worsens and the federal government’s response continues to falter, Oxfam has decided to step in to lend our expertise in dealing with some of the world’s most catastrophic disasters.

This isn’t the first time the Trump administration has been called out for its slow, ineffective response to the damage caused by Hurricane Maria to Puerto Rico. Trump previously came under fire for not lifting the Jones Act in order to allow foreign ships to temporarily bring aid to the island (something he did readily for Texas and Florida this year after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma). He has also been engaged in a media war of words with the mayor of San Juan, who has tried to draw attention to the plight of her constituents, only to be met with accusations from Trump of being manipulated by Democrats. Trump’s acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke tried to spin the government’s response as a “good news story,” but Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said it was actually a “people-are-dying story.”