Protesters in Manhattan say Trump Administration's response to Puerto Rico inadequate

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Josh Einiger has more on the protests in Midtown.

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding before our eyes after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

At Federal Plaza Thursday night, there was a storm of anger and a sea of sadness.

"I haven't talked to my mom since nine days ago," said Brenda Figueroa, retired NYPD.

Figueroa has never felt so helpless. Her mom and other family members are in the Puerto Rican city of Aguadilla. It's a place where she says FEMA hasn't even distributed water.

"No water, there is no water. There is no help. There is nothing, there is no communication," Figueroa said.

Nine days in, the victims of a deepening crisis are still seeing just a trickle of help.

Though at the White House Thursday, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke had a different take.

"It is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people," Duke said.

Good news, the Trump administration announced when it formally waived the Jones Act, which blocks shipments to Puerto Rico from vessels that aren't American flagged.

Still, officials insist the problem hasn't been in getting supplies in.

"We had provided as many commodities as were necessary to the island," said Tom Bossert, Homeland Security Adviser. "The challenge became, then, land based distribution. That remains the challenge. That remains the priority today."

But if this is the priority, you have to wonder what isn't.

Because at the island's main port, thousands and thousands of shipping containers sit in the sun jam packed with goods people desperately need.

"We're talking about medicines. We're talking about food, we're talking about water ice construction materials," said Jose Ayala, Crowley Maritime.

Officials are struggling to clear logistical and literal bottlenecks keeping truckers from picking the goods up. There are not enough drivers, no way to communicate, and not enough fuel for their trucks.
So across Puerto Rico, from a line for ice in San Juan to the devastated island of Vieques, millions of Americans have nothing to do but wait.

Ayala is the Vice President of Crowley Maritime, one of the world's largest shipping companies.

"The frustration of knowing that right now, right now, there's a person in need of medicine. That right now, babies, children, don't have a bottle of water. And it's here in Puerto Rico," Ayala said.

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politicsrallyprotestpuerto ricodonald trumphurricane mariaLower ManhattanNew York City
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