Trump waives Jones Act for Puerto Rico, effective immediately

'Apocalyptic' devastation in Puerto Rico; Island faces humanitarian crisis Governor says

The Trump administration announced today that it would temporarily waive the Jones Act, a century-old law prohibiting foreign ships from aiding in the disaster relief effort, for Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Rihanna has urged United States president Donald Trump to offer more help to the people of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

Not so. One of our more benighted statutes, the century-old Jones Act, prohibits foreign-owned, foreign-staffed ships from carrying cargo between US ports.

Waiving restrictions on foreign vessels that carry cargo to Puerto Rico "could overwhelm the system, creating unnecessary backlogs and causing confusion on the distribution of critical supplies throughout the island,"' said Thomas Allegretti, the group's chairman.

A week after Maria, many hospitals are still shut down and the few that are open are operating with just emergency generator power. The delivery of relief supplies has been complicated by disruption of telephone service and roads still damaged by flooding or left impassable by fallen trees and debris.

Puerto Rico was recently hit by Hurricane Maria when it was a category 4 hurricane, making it the most powerful storm to hit Puerto Rico since 1928.

"We need truck drivers", he said, adding he had asked the Department of Defense to send troops to help with transportation. Kaitlyn Lahm, spokesperson for Samaritan's Purse, said the plane landed on Sunday with supplies for 6,000 families and returned with more supplies to reach another 1,500 households yesterday.

"But we have a lot of shippers and a lot of people who work in the shipping industry who don't want the Jones Act lifted", he told reporters.

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About 9,500 containers of supplies were sitting at the Port of San Juan Thursday morning, said Yennifer Alvarez, spokeswoman for Puerto Rico's governor.

In Puerto Rico, doctors' offices and walk-in clinics haven't reopened since the storm.

These pictures show how Hurricane Maria has reduced the lush green landscape of Puerto Rico to a muddy brown in images captured from space.

Shortly before meeting Trump Thursday, Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke issued a statement saying, "This waiver will ensure that over the next ten days, all options are available to move and distribute goods to the people of Puerto Rico".

He says President Donald Trump has waived a matching funds requirement, which means the cash-strapped island won't have to contribute to the initial costs of the federal assistance.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in a tweet, noted that the administration "has finally waived" the Jones Act.

"I got lucky: My AT&T cellphone worked in much of metro San Juan, so I could email my story every evening after typing or dictating my story into the Notes app", said Mazzei, who is now back on the mainland.

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