Someone Screwed Up: FEMA Delivered Millions of Bottles to Puerto Rico, It's Been Rotting on a Runway For a Year

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Posted: Sep 13, 2018 11:30 AM
Someone Screwed Up: FEMA Delivered Millions of Bottles to Puerto Rico, It's Been Rotting on a Runway For a Year

Last year in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, FEMA delivered millions of bottles of water to the island as part of the relief effort. After the supplies were delivered, hundreds of pallets worth, they were never distributed. CBS News broke the story.

The photos were taken by Abdiel Santana, who works with the United Forces of Rapid Action agency of the Puerto Rican Police. Santana said he snapped the photos because he was angry to still see them sitting there, nearly a year after he first spotted them.

Marty Bahamonde, director of disaster operations at FEMA, confirmed that the agency delivered the bottled water to the island but said the agency didn't track specific shipments. It's not clear what became of the bottles after the delivery. FEMA is investigating whether or not the agency placed the water bottles on the runway.

After some digging, FEMA is saying the bottles became "excess" when the tap water in Puerto Rico came back on. The water was moved to the runway to avoid expensive storage costs to taxpayers.

Even if the bottles were "excess," they still should have been distributed. Locals could have been told to go pick up the water themselves and likely would have. What an enormous waste.