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Lt. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, the Department of Defense’s primary military liaison with FEMA, toured the damage in Puerto Rico for the first time Saturday during a helicopter ride from San Juan to Ceiba. After landing at a hangar in Ceiba with no power, internet or cellular service, Buchanan spoke with the PBS NewsHour’s Monica Villamizar.
“Sometimes we don’t know what’s going to happen until the storm actually hits, and this is the worst I’ve ever seen,” Buchanan said.
READ MORE: How you can help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico
The trip occurred hours after President Donald Trump criticized San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz for “poor leadership” after she spoke of devastation and “horror” on the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and pleaded for help and support from the government. “We are dying here,” she said during a news conference Friday.
Buchanan said the worst problems are on the interior of the island. “And it’s because of roads. The roads are not clear on the outside of the island, and we’re slowly working our way in. But we obviously need to get all the roads cleared so we can get supplies to people who desperately need them.”
Jenny Marder is a senior science writer for NASA and a freelance journalist. Her stories have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post and National Geographic. She was formerly digital managing editor for the PBS NewsHour.
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