Trump Warns Puerto Rico Weeks After Storms: Federal Help Cannot Stay 'Forever'

Puerto Rico's hurricane death toll rises to 45

Democrats said Trump's attacks were "shameful", given that the 3 million-plus USA citizens on Puerto Rico are confronting the kind of hardships that would draw howls of outrage if they affected a state.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the government needs to ensure that - in his words - "Puerto Rico can begin to stand on its own two feet".

Photo Lt. Gen. Jeff Buchanan of the Army, the commander of Joint Task Force Puerto Rico, and soldiers from the Puerto Rico National Guard unloaded critical supplies in Jayuya, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday. Last month, Trump accused San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of "poor leadership" and said she and others in Puerto Rico "want everything to be done for them".

It was not immediately clear which Superfund sites the EPA was referring to.

Puerto Rico has been reeling since Hurricane Maria struck three weeks ago.

FEMA says there are now some 19,000 federal civilian personnel and military service members - including more than 1,400 FEMA personnel - working in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Only 17 percent of the island has electricity, according to the site.

President Donald Trump continued his relentless criticism of Puerto Rico Thursday morning, suggesting the US couldn't aid in recovery and relief efforts in the USA territory "forever!"

The tweets Thursday morning are just the latest attacks the President has launched on the USA territory, which was devastated by two hurricanes last month.

The president adds: "We can not keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been incredible (under the most hard circumstances) in P.R. forever!"

"There are reports of residents obtaining, or trying to obtain, drinking water from wells at hazardous waste "Superfund" sites in Puerto Rico", the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a release.

Hurricane Maria struck September 20.

At a government briefing in Puerto Rico Thursday morning, the main topics were access to drinking water and the restoration of power in an area that has come to rely on generators.

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