Quantcast

FEMA Scrubs Data About Puerto Rico's Lack of Water and Electricity

Climate
Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos/Flickr

On Wednesday, roughly two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck, just 50 percent of Puerto Rico had access to drinking water and only 5.4 percent had electricity. That information was clearly displayed on Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) website on disaster relief efforts in the U.S. territory.

But the next day, as first noticed by the Washington Post, those two critical pieces of information were removed from the website.


FEMA explained to the Post that the information is still available in Spanish on a website maintained by the Puerto Rican government, www.status.pr. However, there was no comment about why the information was deleted from the main FEMA page.

FEMA webpage on Oct. 3 about recovery efforts in Puerto Rico (highlighted section from EcoWatch)

"Our mission is to support the governor and his response priorities through the unified command structure to help Puerto Ricans recover and return to routines. Information on the stats you are specifically looking for are readily available" on the website maintained by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló's office, FEMA spokesman William Booher said.

FEMA page as of Oct. 6

The Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI), which has been closely tracking changes to federal websites since President Trump took office, confirmed the Post's report and said the webpage was most recently altered some time between Oct. 3, 8:51 p.m. and Oct. 5, 5:16 p.m. Eastern Time, according to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.

EDGI also noted in its own report that:

Between these versions, the "Federal Response Updates" section was changed, with updates to statistics, descriptions of emergency logistic and impact information, and images. One subsection, which previously reported on electricity access, titled "Power Restoration and Fuel Impacts" was removed entirely. Other bullet points, including one reporting on water access, and a schematic titled "LOGISTICS SNAPSHOT for HURRICANE MARIA" were also removed. This report only examines changes to the "Federal Response Updates" section.

President Trump and his administration have received intense criticism over his handling of the crisis in Puerto Rico as recovery efforts moves at a "glacial pace."

In a memo to colleagues leaked this weekend by Axios, Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert instructed the White House how to "pivot" White House messaging on Puerto Rico this week, emphasizing that "the storm caused these problems, not our response to it."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Passengers trying to reach Berlin's Tegel Airport on Sunday were hit with delays after police blocked roads and enacted tighter security controls in response to a climate protest.

Read More Show Less
A military police officer in Charlotte, North Carolina, pets Rosco, a post-traumatic stress disorder companion animal certified to accompany him, on Jan. 11, 2014. North Carolina National Guard

For 21 years, Doug Distaso served his country in the United States Air Force.

He commanded joint aviation, maintenance, and support personnel globally and served as a primary legislative affairs lead for two U.S. Special Operations Command leaders.

But after an Air Force plane accident left him with a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain, Distaso was placed on more than a dozen prescription medications by doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
Preliminary tests of the bubble barrier have shown it to be capable of ushering 80 percent of the canal's plastic waste to its banks. The Great Bubble Barrier / YouTube screenshot

The scourge of plastic waste that washes up on once-pristine beaches and finds its way into the middle of the ocean often starts on land, is dumped in rivers and canals, and gets carried out to sea. At the current rate, marine plastic is predicted to outweigh all the fish in the seas by 2050, according to Silicon Canals.

Read More Show Less
Man stands on stage at Fort Leonard Wood in the U.S. Brett Sayles / Pexels

Wilson "Woody" Powell served in the Air Force during the Korean war. But in the decades since, he's become staunchly anti-war.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Nov. 8. Matt Johnson / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

Joined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Friday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders held the largest rally of any 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to date in Iowa, drawing more than 2,400 people to Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.

Read More Show Less

Scientists have developed an innovative way to protect endangered rhinos from poaching: flood the market for rhino horn with a cheap, fake alternative.

Read More Show Less
With fires burning across the country, Australian officials say the situation is "unchartered territory." CBC News / YouTube screenshot

More than 130 wildfires were burning on Australia's East Coast Sunday, The Guardian reported. The blazes have killed three and destroyed at least 150 structures so far, and conditions are expected to worsen Tuesday, when the greater Sydney area will face "catastrophic fire danger" for the first time.

Read More Show Less