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Oxfam slams US response in Puerto Rico as 'slow, inadequate'

Oxfam America is stepping in to help Puerto Rico, saying the Trump administration's response has been “inadequate."

The global nonprofit's president, Abby Maxman, said in a statement Tuesday that the group is “outraged” at the U.S. government’s slow response in Puerto Rico, where more than half of the population is without clean drinking water and food and electricity are scarce in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

“We’re hearing excuses and criticism from the administration instead of a cohesive and compassionate response,” Maxman said.

The organization primarily focuses on humanitarian aid in developing nations and rarely helps wealthy countries like the U.S., but it said it is making an exception as the situation in Puerto Rico worsens.

Maxman said the group will join with Puerto Rican leaders to work with Congress and federal agencies to organize relief efforts, adding that a team has been sent to San Juan to provide direct resources to residents, particularly in rural communities.

“The US has more than enough resources to mobilize an emergency response but has failed to do so in a swift and robust manner,” she said.

The Trump administration has been sharply criticized for its slow response to the devastation in Puerto Rico. The president has also clashed with the mayor of San Juan, tweeting that she has “poor leadership ability” and saying that Puerto Ricans “want everything done for them.”

The president and first lady Melania Trump are scheduled to visit Puerto Rico on Tuesday and will meet with local leaders and victims of hurricane damage.