US President Donald Trump on Saturday placed blame squarely on Puerto Ricans for the slow recovery from Hurricane Maria after critics and the mayor of San Juan complained his administration’s response to the US territory’s plight was insufficient.
Eleven days after the devastating storm wiped out power, water and communications systems, about half of the 3.4 million people on the island do not have access to drinking water, and 95 per cent remain without power, according to the US Defense Department.
"I'm a ticking time bomb on the verge of exploding," said Adeline Vazquez, 53, who needs a ventilator for respiratory problems and whose building in the western city of Mayaguez does not have enough fuel to run a generator 24 hours a day.
Maria, the most powerful storm to strike Puerto Rico in nearly 90 years, has destroyed roads, making it difficult to deliver aid and move the heavy equipment needed to fix damaged infrastructure across the island. The hurricane has killed at least 16 people, according to the official death toll.
Trump, who plans to visit the island on Tuesday, fired off a series of angry tweets from his private golf club in New Jersey, taking aim at the mayor of San Juan, the island's capital and largest city.
On Friday, Carmen Yulin Cruz criticised Trump's administration and begged for more help, a plea that received widespread television coverage in the mainland United States, according to Reuters.