CHICAGO (CBS) — Hundreds of American Airlines employees were joining forces with a charity group on Thursday to send food to Puerto Rico to help the island recover after Hurricane Maria.
The workers partnered with Minnesota-based charity Feed My Starving Children to pack up about 100,000 meals in a hangar at O’Hare International Airport, boxing up the food in assembly line fashion to send it to the storm-ravaged island.
Meantime, the lack of clean water in Puerto Rico has prompted fears of a health crisis. The EPA has said there are reports of people getting or trying to get drinking water from wells at hazardous waste “Super Fund” sites on the island.
Families also have been turning to rain water.
It has been three weeks since Maria hit Puerto Rico, and 36 percent of the island still does not have drinkable water, and 84 percent of the island remains without power.
Groceries also have been running low, and distribution centers have been facing long lines while passing out boxes of food. Families are given one box of food meant to last as long as two days.
President Donald Trump has asked Congress for a $5 billion loan to help the island deal with the devastation. However, on Twitter, he suggested Puerto Rico should shoulder more responsibility for the recovery efforts, and seemed to threaten cutting off federal aid.
In his tweets, the president cited Sinclair Broadcast Group television journalist Sharyl Attkisson as saying “Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.”
“Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend…….We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” Trump wrote in a series of tweets.
According to FEMA, more than 19,000 federal civilian and military personnel are on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to assist with hurricane recovery efforts.