Brock Long, FEMA administrator, wasn’t having any of MSNBC anchors Stephanie Ruhle and Ali Velshi b.s. “fake news” when it came to the crisis in Puerto Rico.
Long told the MSNBC hosts that “just because [a rescue worker is] not in camouflage” does not mean that person is not there to help. Moving forward, Velshi and Ruhle attempted to compare the efforts being done there to Haiti to which Long put them in their place and said that they don’t compare as one is a US territory and the other isn’t.
“In terms of shouldering a burden on misinformation–when we look at the images, when we speak to people on the ground, it’s very hard for us to understand why Tom Bossart was saying, ‘well we didn’t need a three-star general until day 8,’” cohost Ruhle said to Long.
“I would be happy to embed your cameramen with our crews,” Long offered. “And the other thing is, I would also appreciate if you could cover the Joint Field Office press conferences that have been happening every morning.”
This prompted host Velshi to speak up and claim that the administration is blaming journalists for the lack of effort in regards to relief.
“I’m not putting any blame on anybody or your journalists,” Long responded. “I’m just saying there’s a lot of information that’s been flying around–we’re trying to put out accurate information from FEMA as much as we can.”
According to Fema.gov, There are thousands of federal staff, including more than 600 FEMA personnel, on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands engaged in response and recovery operations from Hurricanes Maria and Irma. Hundreds of additional federal personnel are supporting response and recovery operations through mainland coordination centers and logistics facilities.
FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) teams have accessed 90 percent of Puerto Rico, conducting search and rescue operations, humanitarian missions, and helping to assess hospitals. FEMA US&R task forces saved or assisted 843 individuals and five pets, while searching over 2,600 structures.
FEMA, working in coordination with federal partners, provided millions of meals and millions of liters of water to Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Additional meals and water continue to arrive to the islands daily. Puerto Rico established eleven regional staging areas, serving 77 communities. The U.S. Virgin Islands established 17 distribution sites.