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Locals react to President's call for limiting aid to Puerto Rico

Image: Puerto Rico Aid Source: MGN Image

President Trump wants Congress to decide how much Puerto Rico will receive in federal aid after being destroyed by Hurricane Maria.

On the morning of Thursday, Oct. 12th, the president tweeted the U.S. can't keep emergency workers on the devastated island "forever".

The president said the island's infrastructure was a "disaster" before the hurricane and suggested the U.S. territory was to blame for its financial struggles.

Jose Perez owns Joe's Caribe, a Puerto Rican inspired restaurtant, in Pensacola.

Perez said local and federal aid will be needed for a long time to help fellow Americans get back on their feet.

"We feel that we have our hands tied. It's been a long process," Perez said.

Joe's Caribe had its grand opening last month. The restaurant is now a hub for relief efforts after Maria ravaged the island.

Perez's family living in Puerto Rico is alive but they're now dealing with the aftermath.

"We've done anything and everything that we can do which is pray, make collections, formulate committees so that we can start sending supplies over," Perez said.

He's helping out as much as he can.

People have been dropping off donations at the restaurant to ship over to those in need.

Perez said it's everyone's responsibility to help fellow Americans.

"If we all joined forces together and we all come together and give whatever you can give for the cause or a resolution to the problem then we're going to be powerful beyond measure," Perez said.

In addition, Teresa Avila's whole family, who still lives in Puerto Rico, barely survived the storm.

Avila said, "It has been kind of crazy because everything can change from one day to another. As of today, they're just hanging, hanging in there."

She feels powerless watching everything from afar.

"For us, it's a desperate situation," Avila said. "You want to know every day if they ate. If there was something the day before so they could eat something. You want to know if they get to get water. When you get in social media you just want to shut it down because everything is bad."

Avila said President Trump's tweets expressing his desire to limit aid to the island hurt. She believes Puerto Rico needs all the help it can get.

She said, "I don't even know what to say. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. I don't know if he knows that but it is a U.S. territory. If he takes away FEMA and the federal aids and military agencies that are there, Puerto Rico is not going to recover.

Avila believes there's a logistical problem that's keeping supplies from getting to those in need.

Joe's Caribe continues to collect supplies for Puerto Rico.

They're located at 2120 Dog Track Rd, Pensacola, FL 32506. To contact them, you can call (850) 400-4489.

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