Puerto Rico struggles for relief after Hurricane Maria

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Natural Disasters

Puerto Rico struggles for relief after Hurricane Maria

USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) departs Naval Station Norfolk on the afternoon of Friday, September 29, marking the beginning of it's journey to Puerto Rico.
Photo: Lieutenant Junior Grade Juan Pablo Vielma, United States Navy.

It has been more than a week since Hurricane Maria wreaked devastation on Puerto Rico, destroying the power grid and leaving millions without immediate access to necessities.

Emergency supplies of food, water and gas have begun to arrive at ports, but trucks cannot deliver these needed supplies across the island. Many roads are wrecked or blocked off, and the island faces fuel shortages.

There has been intense criticism of the Trump administration's response to the growing humanitarian crisis, although the president has defended the government's actions.

Above: USNS Comfort departs Naval Station Norfolk on the afternoon of Sept. 29, beginning its journey to Puerto Rico.

  • In downtown San Juan, any building with light is running off a generator. 

    In downtown San Juan, any building with light is running off of a generator, as there is no public electricity working on the whole island.
    Carolyn Cole | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
  • Telesforo Menendez surveys the damage in his neighborhood in Hayales de Coamo. 

    Telesforo Menendez surveys the damage in his neighborhood September 24, 2017 in Hayales de Coamo, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through.
    Getty Images
  • Residents in San Juan line up for gasoline days after Hurricane Maria made landfall.

    Residents line up for gasoline days after Hurricane Maria made landfall, on September 22, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
    Getty Images
  • A U.S. Marine and a local resident work together to clear a tree from the main road as part of Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Ceiba.

    A U.S. Marine assigned to Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), and a local resident work together to clear a tree from the main road as part of Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Ceiba, Puerto Rico on September 27, 2017. Picture taken on September 27, 2017.
    Alexis C. Schneider | U.S. Marine Corps | Reuters
  • Hurricane survivors receive food and water being given out by volunteers and municipal police in Toa Baja. 

    Hurricane survivors receive food and water being given out by volunteers and municipal police as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 28, 2017 in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.
    Getty Images
  • People fill containers with water at an area hit by Hurricane Maria in Canovanas.

    People fill containers with water at an area hit by Hurricane Maria in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, September 26, 2017. Picture taken on September 26, 2017.
    Carlos Garcia Rawlins | Reuters
  • A worker uses a backhoe loader to remove damaged electrical installations from a street in Yabucoa.

    A worker uses a backhoe loader to remove damaged electrical installations from a street after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico.
    Carlos Garcia Rawlins | Reuters
  • Puerto Rican National Guardsmen load a helicopter with food and water to bring to hurricane survivors.

    Puerto Rican National Guardsmen load a helicopter with food and water to bring to hurricane survivors.
    Getty Images
  • Residents stand in line to withdraw cash from an ATM in the Miramar neighborhood of San Juan.

    People stand in line to withdraw cash from an automatic teller machine (ATM) after Hurricane Maria heavily damaged the government-run electricity system in the Miramar neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017.
    Alex Wroblewski | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • Federal agents provide security to a truck discharging fuel at a gas station in San Juan.

    Federal agents provide security to a truck discharging gas at a gas station, after the island was hit by Hurricane Maria, in San Juan, Puerto Rico September 28, 2017.
    Alvin Baez | Reuters
  • Evacuees line up Friday in San Juan to get on a Royal Caribbean relief ship sailing to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

    People line up to get on a Royal Caribbean International, Adventure of the Seas, relief boat that is sailing to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with evacuees that are fleeing after the island was hit by Hurricane Maria on September 28, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
    Getty Images
  • Pallets of supplies are transferred from the fast combat support ship USNS Supply to the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge during a replenishment-at-sea for continuing relief operations.

    Pallets of supplies are transferred from the fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6) to the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) during a replenishment-at-sea for continuing operations for relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico on September 28, 2017.
    acob A. Goff | U.S. Navy | Reuters
  • Luis Lugo and Awilda Valdez bathe in spring water because they have no running water in their home in Corozal since Hurricane Maria passed through. 

    Luis Lugo and Awilda Valdez bath in spring water since they have no running water in their home since Hurricane Maria passed through on September 27, 2017 in Corozal, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread, severe damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grids as well as agricultural destruction after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through.
    Getty Images
  • People cross a bridge that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria in Corozal. 

    People cross a bridge what was destroyed when Hurricane Maria passed through on September 27, 2017 in Corozal, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread, severe damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grids as well as agricultural destruction after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through.
    Getty Images
  • Ysamar Figueroa, carrying her son Saniel, looks at the damage in the neighborhood after Hurricane Maria, in Canovanas.

    Ysamar Figueroa carrying her son Saniel, looks at the damage in the neighborhood after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria, in Canovanas, Puerto Rico September 26, 2017.
    Carlos Garcia Rawlins | Reuters
  • Irma Maldanado stands in what is left of her home that was destroyed in Corozal. 

    Irma Maldanado stands with Sussury her parrot and her dog in what is left of her home that was destroyed when Hurricane Maria passed through on September 27, 2017 in Corozal, Puerto Rico.
    Getty Images