The center will be accepting donations for the next 30 days, because Puerto Rico is going to need help for a long time.
But a shortage of truckers and the island’s devastated infrastructure are making it tough to move aid to where it’s needed most.
Pelosi, D-Calif., made the recommendation Monday, as more information was becoming available regarding the extent of damage done by two hurricanes to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, both U.S. territories.
On top of that, a diesel fuel shortage and a tangle of blocked roads mean the distribution of supplies is extremely challenging.
“We have diapers, water, all things Puerto Rico needs”, said Rodriguez. They’ve been ravaged by the hurricanes and they already were experiencing one of the worst debt crises in the Caribbean. People reported having to collect water from wells and streams.
Soto was one of many who brought a donation to this truck, hoping to fill it up to be shipped down to Puerto Rico.
Crowley has only been able to dispatch 4% of its 3,000 containers, he said.
Battalion Chief Shawn Whittington spoke to 23ABC over the phone Wednesday afternoon and said they arrived to a lot of structural damage and debris in the city. Troops are rescuing survivors, giving medical aid, distributing food and water, and helping clear debris, among other efforts. Gas stations and supermarkets are rationing supplies, while banks are running low on cash.
“She goes every year, to spend Christmas with her parents”, said Rodriguez. “I can’t watch it anymore because I just get very emotional just seeing the images and seeing how my island got destroyed by this hurricane”.
With stifling humidity and temperatures in the high 90s, it started to rain on Mantiega and dozens of other hopeful shoppers trying to get food. “I was excited, because that’s exactly what they need”. “I think the hardest part is not knowing what state their home is in, where they are, if they’re even still home because some places were evacuated”.