Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced fired director of Puerto Rico’s Office of Emergency Management, Carlos Acevedo, hours after a warehouse filled with water and supplies was discovered by residents of Ponce, a recently earthquake-ravaged city on the island.
Several residents were seen opening rolling metal doors of the warehouse building and calling for authorities to distribute the supplies. Families began lining up outside the warehouse Saturday afternoonhoping to get bottled water, food and emergency radios, according to CNN affiliate WAPA. The emergency aid discovered is believed to have been from when Hurricane Maria devastated the island two years ago, the governor said.
Acevedo was dismissed Saturday, and the governor appointed Maj. Gen. José J. Reyes, the adjutant general of the Puerto Rico National Guard, to replace him. Acevedo denied allegations of mishandling, saying the agency has been actively distributing supplies, according to a statement released through the office of emergency management.
He claimed no residents have been denied any supplies in the warehouse, including food, diapers, baby formula and cots. Acevedo also said about 600 pallets of water were distributed when Hurricane Dorian and Hurricane Karen threatened Puerto Rico and during a drought that affected the island last year. Approximately 80 of those pallets remain in the warehouse because they expired.
“There are thousands of people who made sacrifices to bring aid to the south and it’s unforgivable that resources have been kept in a warehouse,” the governor said in a statement.
Puerto Rico has been ravaged by a series of earthquakes since December 28, and in the last two weeks, tremors and aftershocks have destroyed or severely damaged hundreds of structures and forced thousands of people in the southern area of the island to flee their homes.
Our continued prayers to those affected by the earthquakes in Puerto Rico 🙏🏾