De La Campa added that FEMA would pivot from providing emergency aid in order to move toward and focus on long-term recovery such as rebuilding the island's economy. "We're not stopping, especially with something as essential as food and water".
Bucklew has continued to work with them closely and confidentially to help them obtain necessary documentation and transcripts, as well as to identify which exemptions and waivers they may be eligible for to assist them financially. He said no decision has been made and officials mistakenly made the date public this week. The agency said it has distributed more than 65 million liters of bottled water (costing $361 million) and 58 million meals and snacks (costing $1.6 billion).
Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, speaking on the Senate Floor on Monday, had said it would be "unconscionable" and "a travesty" to cut off aid in Puerto Rico, where almost a third of the island's 3.4 million U.S. citizens still lack power more than four months after the storm.
FEMA also says it will continue handing out supplies to those in need.
The island government appeared blindsided by the decision, saying it was still in talks with FEMA on a timetable for assuming control of food and water distribution.
Eric Rodriguez, Vice President of UnidosUS (formerly NCLR): "In this evening's State of the Union address President Trump spoke about unity and making America strong yet those words ring hollow when we look at the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico".
"I hope Mayor Cruz's presence.will remind the president and my colleagues in Congress of our urgent responsibility to help Puerto Rico fully recover and rebuild". In a bipartisan letter signed by U.S. Sens.
Thousands of Puerto Ricans have relocated to the USA mainland since Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September.
In December, representatives of the island's Emergency Management Agency and FEMA consulted mayors across the island to determine the need of food and water to their communities, according to FEMA.
Yulissa Arce, Central Florida Regional Director, Organize Florida: "President Trump may have said "we are with you" to the people of Puerto Rico, but the truth is that his administration has not even done the bare minimum to help Puerto Ricans post-Hurricane Maria".