On 11 September, Abdiel Santana, a police officer in Puerto Rico shared pictures on his Facebook account of what he said were almost a million boxes of water left on an airport runway. CBS News confirmed that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has acknowledged that millions of water bottles meant for survivors of Hurricane Maria were left undistributed at an airport in Puerto Rico for more than a year.
Amnesty International is demanding that the Puerto Rican and US federal authorities initiate an independent investigation into the authorities' response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, which cost 2,975 lives.
The call comes amid new revelations of a large stockpile of drinking water amassing on the runway of the airport in Ceiba, with no sign it was distributed for months on end to the hard-hit population.
Amnesty International’s remote-sensing analyst examined months of satellite imagery over the airport in Ceiba. It clearly shows how a large amount of goods covered by blue tarps accumulated rapidly on a disused runway from late January to early March 2018, where the vast majority appears to have remained since then. Together with aerial photographs posted this week and official US government documents, this evidence strongly suggests that potentially millions of bottles of water were being stockpiled for months on a runway, when it could have been distributed to Hurricane-ravaged Puerto Ricans.
According to official US federal government documents published by CBS News, FEMA, the US federal agency responsible for coordinating responses to disasters, had control of 20,833 pallets of bottled water, worth more than $22 million.
“Access to water is a human right. How can the disaster response to Hurricane Maria be an “unsung success” if $22 million of drinking water is left stockpiled on a runway while people are suffering?” –Kumi Naidoo
Sign the petition and take action–Demand federal and local authorities to launch an unbiased and independent investigation on the management of these resources which could have contributed to the confirmed death toll of 2,975 individuals after the passing of Hurricane María.