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Puerto Ricans stumble on relief supply filling warehouse

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A man pulls a pallet of gas canisters believed to have been from when Hurricane Maria struck the island in 2017 in a warehouse in Ponce, Puerto Rico on 18 January 2020, after a powerful earthquake hit the island. (Photo by Ricardo ARDUENGO / AFP)

The governor of Puerto Rico has fired the island’s emergency manager after people discovered a warehouse filled with donated relief supplies for victims of hurricane Maria two years ago.

“There are thousands of people who made sacrifices to bring aid to the south and it’s unforgivable that resources have been kept in a warehouse,” CNN quoted Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced as saying after she replaced Carlos Acevedo, director of Puerto Rico’s Office of Emergency Management, with Maj. Gen. José J. Reyes, the adjutant general of the Puerto Rico National Guard.

On Saturday afternoon, people are trying to get the bottled water, food and emergency radios from the warehouse as Acevedo released a statement explaining that the supply was being distributed since last year’s hurricanes and drought.

Acevedo also said 80 pallets of water in the warehouse expired but there was no order to seize or destroy it.

More than 8,000 people in Puerto Rico have been displaced by a series of earthquake on 28 December and are now living in outdoor shelters for safety.

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