A Caribbean territory has a new director of emergency management after locals discovered a warehouse filled with unused supplies that the United States donated for Hurricane Maria victims more than two years ago.
Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez Garced confirmed she dismissed Office of Emergency Management Director Carlos Acevedo after a video went viral on social media, showing a warehouse in Ponce filled with emergency supplies that never reached victims of the deadly Category 5 hurricane in September 2017.
The video showed the warehouse contained several pallets of bottled water, nonperishable food, diapers, and baby formula tins according to the Daily Wire. The publication also revealed none of the supplies were distributed even though the island suffered a magnitude 6.4 earthquake just two weeks earlier on Jan. 7, 2020.
When asked about the warehouse Acevedo explained he received no orders to distribute the supplies and people have always had access to the property even though it was locked when reporters arrived at the scene.
“There are thousands of people who made sacrifices to bring aid to the south,” Gov. Garced said in a statement according to the Daily Wire. “It is unforgivable that resources have been kept in a warehouse.”
CNN confirmed Acevedo finished up at the Office of Emergency Management on Jan. 18. His successor is Maj. Gen. Jose J. Reyes who most recently served as Adjutant General of the Puerto Rico National Guard.
The broadcaster claims the video it used to break the story has since been made private due to safety concerns about the man who recorded it, after he was allegedly threatened with police action.
This incident will add ammunition for the Trump administration’s argument to take a cautious and measured approach to providing foreign aid to Puerto Rico back in 2018. Thousands of relief workers and tens of thousands of pounds of supplies had been delivered to the island, according to the Daily Wire.
The U.S. government has already imposed significant restrictions on how foreign aid can be spent to fight corruption. The FBI is still examining whether a so called pay-to-play scheme could have been a factor during Hurricane Maria.
Local governors allegedly bribed government officials in exchange for receiving the best possible foreign aid first, and even bribing Federal Emergency Management Agency workers for the best contracts to repair damage to the electrical grid and water infrastructure.
For now supplies are being distributed to those who need it most, the government said according to the Daily Wire.