Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) ripped the Trump administration on Friday for the slow pace of relief efforts in Puerto Rico, saying it is costing lives on the hurricane-ravage island.

Gutiérrez, who has family in the U.S. territory, told CNN that the recovery efforts organized by the Department of Defense and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are "disgraceful."

"The reality on the ground is the one that your reporters are telling the American people,"Gutiérrez said. "They're handing out maybe a bottle of water and one meal to a family of five or six. In some towns, not even that."


"I think it isn't a good job," he added during an emotional appearance. "It is a disgraceful job."

Gutiérrez said that there was no excuse for lagging relief efforts from a country with as much resources as the United States, while tearing into President Trump for his tweets pointing out Puerto Rico's massive $70 billion debt in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

"The United States of America is the most powerful, wealthiest country in the world," Gutiérrez said. "This is not a response that is demonstrative of our power, our wealth, and I'm tired of the president always talking about how much it's going to cost."

"It's costing lives, Mr. President, of children, of the elderly, of the infirmed," he said. "And we should begin an operation also to evacuate people from this island, especially elderly, especially those that have sicknesses, until they can return to the island to rebuild it."

Puerto Rico's officials say the island is completely without power, and estimate it could take up to six month to fully restore electricity to the island. The U.S. territory's 3.4 million residents have weathered two Category 4 hurricanes in recent months.

Trump officials are scrambling to contain the humanitarian crisis. On Friday, Trump praised his administration for doing an "incredible" job with relief efforts on the island.

"We have done an incredible job, considering there's absolutely nothing to work with," Trump said Thursday.

"And a very big question is, what are we going to do with the power plant? Because the power plant is totally wiped out," he added. "There is nothing. The power grid is gone."