3,000 dead, but Trump hails Hurricane Maria response as ‘unsung success’

Zach Gibson  AFP  Getty Images People cross the street as water floods outside buildings in Old Town Alexandria Va. Sept. 11 2018

"The problem with Puerto Rico is their electric grid and their electric generating plant was dead before the storms ever hit", Trump told reporters.

Last October, when the official death toll from Maria was only in the dozens, Trump traveled to Puerto Rico, where he said he was "proud" that Hurricane Maria was not "a real catastrophe" like Katrina, which caused 1,833 deaths when it hit New Orleans in 2005 as a Category 5 storm.

In response to the president's comments, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello issued a statement Tuesday on "the worst natural disaster in our modern history".

The center also says the storm could become more powerful.

President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday that the administration's response to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria past year was "an incredible, unsung success".

The president also released a video telling residents in affected areas: "Get out of its way, don't play games with it - it's a big one, may be as big as they've seen".

But a report from the Government Accountability Office said FEMA was so overwhelmed with storms previous year that when Maria hit it was unable to respond properly, noting that more than half of its disaster workers were not qualified for the jobs they were doing.

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Trump's response to Puerto Rico has been broadly panned, as many critics have accused him of neglecting the United States island as it struggled to recover from the devastating impact of Maria. 'I think Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success, ' he claimed.

The deadliest hurricane in USA history hit Galveston, Texas, in 1900, killing more than 6,000 people. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000", Trump wrote on Twitter.

"We made a lot of changes in real time in addition to the high-level efforts that we learned through our after-action process".

"We know how much they're going to have ahead of them", she said. "And so we're reorganizing the firepower of the federal government underneath these critical lifelines, we're pushing forward". Trump called the count a move by Democrats to make him look bad.

President Trump on Tuesday touted what he described as the "incredibly successful" response to the back-to-back hurricanes that struck Puerto Rico previous year. "Those were not needed during the response phase and were not distributed by the governor of Puerto Rico or FEMA for that reason", FEMA deputy administrator Daniel Kaniewski told "CBS This Morning".

San Juan, Puerto Rico is a two and a half hour plane ride from Miami.

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