The Trump administration has turned down a request from Puerto Rico that food stamps be made available for use in fast food restaurants and in other places that serve prepared hot meals, amd power cuts and food shortages on the island.
Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria several weeks ago, leaving many of its inhabitants without running water or electricity—making it extremely difficult to prepare meals.
Island officials had requested that the U.S. federal government permit food stamps—on which almost 40% of Puerto Rico’s population, or 1.3 million people, rely—to be used to purchase hot meals or in fast food restaurants; a request the island’s governor on Tuesday said had been denied.
Puerto Ricans dependant on food stamps are struggling because supermarkets that have lose power are unabile to process food stamp cards, thus rendering the cards useless. Governor Ricardo A. Rosselló said he would continue to press the issue.
Although the federal government denied the request to allow food stamps to be used for hot or pre-prepared meals, Rosselló said he was still hoping Trump’s administration would issue a waiver for the stamps—just as it did in Texas and Florida after the states were hit by hurricanes.
The governor, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, as reported by The New York Times, also explained that there had been problems distributing the emergency supplies sent to Puerto Rico
“We have delivered food and water and it hasn’t gotten to some people,” Rosselló explained.
“They didn’t listen, couldn’t hear, the information didn’t get to them,” he continued, adding: “I recognize there are still people that might not have gotten those resources.”
The governor also made assurances that there would be trucks provided by the government to take supplies to areas of the country that are in need of additional aid following the hurricane, although the transportation system itself remains a major problem.
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