(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico.) — On the 100-day mark since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, San Juan’s Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz called federal response to the storm inadequate while slamming President Donald Trump as the “disaster-in-chief.”
In an interview with ABC News from San Juan this week, Cruz said of the president, “He was disrespectful to the Puerto Rican people, he was disrespectful to the American people who were leaving their homes to come help us here.”
“Where he needed to be a commander-in-chief, he was a disaster-in-chief. President Trump does not embody the values of the good-hearted American people that have make sure that we are not forgotten,” Cruz added.
The might of Hurricane Maria slashed across the island on Sept. 20 after residents dodged a bullet from Hurricane Irma days before. Maria made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, leaving behind it a trail of destruction.
Basic essentials have become a luxury on the island more than three months after the hurricane. According to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, 69 percent of the electrical grid is generating power, but it is unknown how many people or businesses are actually receiving power.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told ABC News in an statement, “We estimate 100 percent of customers will have power restored by the end of May.”
For Cruz, the timeline magnifies her sentiment of the past three months — “continued devastation.”
She said questions surrounding the number of deaths on the island is an example of how the aftermath of the storm has been botched.
“When you do not have a clear and precise view of what has gone on, then you know something is wrong,” she said.
The official death toll on the island has reached 64, according to the Department of Public Safety, but that number has come under suspicion for months.
Earlier this month, Gov. Ricardo Rossello ordered the Puerto Rico Demographic Registry and the Department of Public Safety to review all deaths that have occurred since Hurricane Maria hit in September “regardless of what the death certificate says.”
Rossello’s order of a review came on the heels of a New York Times review of daily mortality data from the vital statistic bureau, which said there were 1,052 more deaths than usual on the island since the hurricane struck.
“Every life is more than a number, and every death must have a name and vital information attached to it, as well as an accurate accounting of the facts related to their passing. That’s the law,” Rossello said in a statement.
Cruz hopes that the final death toll becomes public because “we owe it to the memory of those people to know. And we owe it to the transformation of Puerto Rico: why they died, and how we can ensure that this does not happen again.”
As the island faces its next 100 days, the mayor foresees another series of “crisis to crisis.”
“The next hundred days will look like more people moving from Puerto Rico, [more] foreclosures, but also the first sparks of light — literally — in order to get back on a new track,” she said.
Cruz’s message is simple: Thank you and don’t forget about Puerto Rico.
“Where others looked away, the American people and the Diaspora and the Latinos and Hispanics looked our way. … [But] don’t forget us” she said. “I for one am grateful for all the Americans that have stood with San Juan and Puerto Rico.”
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.