Oxfam joins hurricane-relief effort, scolds U.S. government for "inadequate" response

The U.S. branch of human-rights group Oxfam International is sending support teams to Puerto Rico to assist the hurricane-relief efforts.
By Ed Mason | Oct 05, 2017
The U.S. branch of human-rights group Oxfam International is sending support teams to Puerto Rico to assist the hurricane-relief efforts. Abby Maxman, Oxfam America's president, said Tuesday that her organization had to get involved because of the U.S. government's response so far has been "inadequate," "slow," and responsible for millions of Puerto Ricans still lacking electricity, food, and safe drinking water.

"We're hearing excuses and criticism from the administration instead of a cohesive and compassionate response," Maxman said in a statement. She said that Oxfam America will partner with local Puerto Rican leaders, U.S. federal agencies, and Congress to coordinate rebuilding and recovery work island-wide.

She issued this statement while President Trump was in Puerto Rico on his first visit to the island since the hurricane ravaged it nearly two weeks ago. The U.S. military has a three-star general stationed in Puerto Rico to lead relief efforts, but he only deployed last Thursday, eight days after the storm. And analyses of the U.S. military forces deployed to the disaster sites noted that much larger forces had deployed to Texas and Florida after their hurricanes last month.

In her statement, Maxman chided the White House and the U.S. government in general for expending too few resources, too slowly, in the wake of the hurricane. She argued that the United States has enough resources to "mobilize an emergency response" but has "failed to do so in a swift and robust manner."

Oxfam has years of experience in hurricane relief. Since 2005, it has been partnering with nonprofits in the Gulf Coast to provide housing assistance and other services to dozens of communities hit by Hurricane Katrina.

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