FEMA administrator: Puerto Rico has 'a long way to go' on hurricane recovery

FEMA administrator Brock Long gives an update on hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.
5:00 | 10/01/17

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Transcript for FEMA administrator: Puerto Rico has 'a long way to go' on hurricane recovery
Let's bring in the FEMA administrator Brock long. You heard the mayor right there. Do you think as the president wrote this morning that she's demonstrated poor leadership? In Puerto Rico, have you encountered anyone who has asked for everything to be done for them? So, the success of a disaster response is predicated on unity of command. The bottom line is, we had a press conference from the joint field office in San Juan. That operation has hundreds of people it in working around the clock to set the stra jejic objectives. FEMA, D.O.D., the governor's objectives. We have been working with mayors all around Puerto Rico to make sure we have a strategy. Ton fortunate aspect is, we have tried to embed my staff with the mayor. I think she just answered the the question. If I heard correctly, she's been there once. This is an operation that has to take place all the time. She does have access to commodities. We have established 11 regional distribution hubs. Not points. Hubs. Where there are large quantities of commodities and food. We had to set up a foundational baseline capability to get commodities to the jurisdictions. In many cases, the mayors are stepping up and driving in to get their commodities and driving back. Mayor Otero, right outside of San Juan, has been very pleased with what we're doing. And so are many of the mayors. The problem is, if you're not connected into that joint field office, then you don't understand commanders' intent. The successes of what needs done versus what has been done. The bottom line is our guys have been working 42 days now across Texas, Florida, both islands. We're going to continue to push forward. We're not satisfied until the situation is stabilized and sustained. We pushed everything into that island that we can. It's not just pushing everything in. It's getting it distributed. We're having to do a ma jor of the work because of the diminished capacity at the local level. They got a hard hit. Two major hurricanes in ten weeks. Not just getting food out. We had over 3200 different problems with the roadway network that were reported. Bridges wiped out. Flooding has taken out the roads. So just being able to push commodities down the arteries has been tough enough. We have also seen the mayor out there in the water as well. She said she thought FEMA's heart was in the right place. Starting to cut through the red tape. Do you thireally think the Puerto ricos ha Rico -- Puerto ricans are not pulling their weight? They've been pulling their weight. The local mayor's job is to push commander's intent to his or her troops. In many cases, there has to be aligned with the governor's priorities and FEMA. It's called joint priorities. Bottom line is we're not only fixing roadway networks, we're doing emergency power. We're getting fuel to hospitals. We have opened up 700 gas stations. The private sector grocery retail industry has come up to about 50%, as I understand it. Telecom has been tushed on to a third of Puerto Rico. That's why we're asking people to try to call into the FEMA system. But I have disaster assistant employee teams inundated Puerto Rico, going door to door, neighborhood to neighborhood, to try to get people registered. Over the last 42 day FEMA has registered nearly 3 million people for assistance for all the of the disasters starting are Harvey. The other complexity is yesterday, we were involved in 20 state and two island territories helping people overonlidy zasters and manage the recovery process. The complexity of this job and the herculean effort of the people behind me. You have faced an incredible challenge. No question. About that. Is everything on track now in Puerto Rico? We got a long way to go. And the bottom line is, we can only push as logistically far as the situation allows. What I mean is, yesterday, we had to implement additional evacuations from the dam again. From the rain fall and the flash flooding reports. Where we're finding success in one area, and in some areas, wee see setbacks. We are making progress, in my opinion. So, it's a slow progress. We have to remember, it was a weak infrastructure. Call it as it is. The weak infrastructure. Lack of building codes. The place was wiped out. Not by one hurricane, by two. Mr. Long, thank you for your time.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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