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Aibonito, Puerto Rico

Sonia Torres poses in her destroyed home, while taking a break from cleaning, three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island, on Oct. 11, 2017 in Aibonito, Puerto Rico. The area is without running water or grid power as a nightly curfew remains in effect. Despite multiple visits from FEMA, the town has yet to receive any FEMA aid. Only 10.6 percent of Puerto Rico’s grid electricity has been restored. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, swept through. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

President Donald Trump lashed out at hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico on Thursday, insisting in tweets that the federal government can’t keep sending help “forever” and suggesting the U.S. territory was to blame for its financial struggles.

His broadsides triggered an outcry from Democrats in Washington and officials on the island, which has been reeling since Hurricane Maria struck three weeks ago, leaving death and destruction in an unparalleled humanitarian crisis.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, with whom Trump has had a running war of words, tweeted that the president’s comments were “unbecoming” to a commander in chief and “seem more to come from a ‘Hater in Chief.'”

“Mr. President, you seem to want to disregard the moral imperative that your administration has been unable to fulfill,” the mayor said in a statement.

The debate played out as the House headed toward passage of a $36.5 billion disaster aid package, including assistance for Puerto Rico. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the government needs to ensure that Puerto Rico can “begin to stand on its own two feet” and said the U.S. has “got to do more to help Puerto Rico rebuild its own economy.”

Forty-five deaths in Puerto Rico have been blamed on Maria, about 85 percent of Puerto Rico residents still lack electricity and the government says it hopes to have electricity restored completely by March. (AP)

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