Nurses returning from Puerto Rico accuse the federal government of leaving people to die

Vox reports: The nation’s largest nurses union condemned the federal government’s emergency response in Puerto Rico on Thursday for “delaying necessary humanitarian aide to its own citizens and leaving them to die.”

The stinging criticism came from members of the nonprofit National Nurses United, speaking on Capitol Hill with Democratic members of Congress after a two-week humanitarian mission to Puerto Rico. About 50 volunteer nurses visited two dozen towns in urban and rural areas, and described the desperation of Puerto Ricans — even five weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island — as worse than anything they had witnessed on other humanitarian missions, including the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans and the earthquake in Haiti.

The official death toll from the storm so far is 51, though Vox’s own reporting suggests the actual number of deaths could be in the hundreds.

The nurses described doctors performing surgery in hospitals with light from their cellphones, children screaming from hunger, elderly residents suffering from severe dehydration, and black mold spreading throughout entire communities. [Continue reading…]

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