Stats on Access to Clean Water and Electricity in Puerto Rico Vanish From FEMA's Website
More positive statistics are being featured more prominently.
There are two main narratives that define natural disasters.
The first one has to do with tragedy — the lives lost, the homes and buildings ruined, the kids out of school, and the general lack of water and food. The second is about the rebuilding effort.
In the aftermath of the hurricanes that battered Puerto Rico, the Trump administration seemingly wants the public to know only the second narrative.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently deleted several references to the suffering faced by people on the island, according to the Washington Post.
As of Wednesday, only 5% of Puerto Rico had electricity, just 17% of the island had access to wastewater treatment, and only 50% of people had reliable access to clean water.
That information had been readily available on FEMA’s website, as shown by the internet archive the Wayback Machine.
Now it’s gone.
Instead, more positive statistics are being featured more prominently, such as the amount of federal staff on the island (14,000) and the percentage of operational airports (100%).
The Washington Post reached out to FEMA to comment on the disappearance of the bleaker statistics.
“Our mission is to support the governor and his response priorities through the unified command structure to help Puerto Ricans recover and return to routines,” FEMA spokesman William Booher told the Washington Post. “Information on the stats you are specifically looking for are readily available.”
The stats are available, but only on a website maintained by Puerto Rico’s governor.
This redaction follows a trend in the administration, especially when it comes to environmental matters.
The Trump administration has already come under fire for its response to the hurricanes in Puerto Rico.
Earlier in the week, President Donald Trump downplayed the damage sustained by the people and its inhabitants when he said people should be thankful that it wasn’t “a real catastrophe.”
Trump has also disparaged the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, and said the relief effort in Puerto Rico was “throwing our budget out of whack.”
These actions were offensive to many Puerto Ricans.
"This terrible and abominable view of him throwing paper towels and throwing provisions at people, it really — it does not embody the spirit of the American nation, you know?" Cruz, the mayor, told MSNBC, in response to Trump throwing paper towels to a room of Puerto Ricans.
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