Supplies bound for Puerto Rico ruined by rat infestation

Boxes of supplies collected to assist in relief efforts in Puerto Rico were contaminated after the Florida office they were stored in became overrun with rats, according to a new report.

The rodent infestation at the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration building in Kissimmee left at least some of the donated goods ruined before they could be shipped to help in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The supplies were delievered to the facility in September, but executive director of the PRFAA Carlos Mercader said the organization “does not have the budget to finance the shipping cost” to Puerto Rico.

He told the Sentinel previous efforts to send out the the boxes of food, water and other items via different organizations “have been unsuccessful.”

23 PHOTOS
Puerto Rico housing crisis
See Gallery
Puerto Rico housing crisis
Chickens stand at the entrance to a house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
People gather to chat outside a mini-market that uses electricity from a generator, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 12, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
A house partially destroyed by hurricane Maria and illuminated with electricity from a generator stands in the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 13, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
David Lopez walks out of his house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Karla Gerrido works on her computer in front of a fan that works with electricity from a generator, at her house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Miguel Rosario Lopez watches a television that works using electricity from a generator, while his wife Milagros Jimenez walks through their house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Chickens walk through a house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Wanda Ramos looks out from the house of her husband's family where she is living after her house was totally destroyed by hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 12, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Itzaida Planas walks to the house of a neighbour, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
A car drives down a street during the night at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 13, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Franco Deaza (L) carries a water container into his family's house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Samuel Vasquez rebuilds his house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, while his wife Ysamar Figueroa looks on, whilst carrying their son Saniel, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Houses damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Maria stand at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Carlos Ventura carries a corrugated metal sheet to be used for a ceiling, while he helps a neighbour to rebuild her house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Milagros Jimenez helps her husband to rebuild their house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Joe Quirindongo tries to repair a makeshift tent where he keeps some belongings at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Yeriel Cruz, 4, looks out of the window of his family house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Milagros Jimenez poses for a picture at her house, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Hector Martinez gives cookies to his dog at the house of his girlfriend Maria Vega Lastra, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 11, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Houses partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria are seen at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Jorge Salgado poses for a picture next to a house he built with parts of his house, which was destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 12, 2017. Salgado said: "I lost everything, but we have to keep living". Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
A woman washes her car in front of houses which were partially destroyed by Hurricane Maria, at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
A handwritten address sign is attached to a post on a street at the squatter community of Villa Hugo in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, December 9, 2017. Villa Hugo is a settlement initially formed by people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The organization, which strives to shine a spotlight on public policy issues regarding Puerto Rico, has an annual budget of $200,000 and two full-time employees, the Atlanta Constitution Journal reported.

Juan Hernandez Mayoral, who previously served as director of the PRFAA office in Florida, slammed the ruined supplies as “governement negligence.”

“Every day, those employees would go into that office and saw those boxes and they did nothing,” he told the newspaper. “As if there was no need on the island.”

Puerto Rico was left devastated after record-breaking Hurricane Maria tore across the island at the end of September. CNN recently reported nearly half a million people are still without electricity more than four months after the Category 5 storm. Scores of people fled the island, many of them still evacuees in Florida.

“Due to many Puerto Rican families that have been displaced to Florida because of the hurricane, we have donated the meals to Puerto Rican families in need,” Mercader said in a statement.

“We will soon conduct an inventory of the donations and identify which ones are fit to be given out to Puerto Rican evacuees in Central Florida.”

Mercader declined to estimate how boxes were damaged in the infestation. The office had previously been infested in August, about a month before the massive and deadly storm.

9 PHOTOS
Hurricane Maria lands in the Dominican Republic
See Gallery
Hurricane Maria lands in the Dominican Republic
A man tries to salvage a table belonging to his restaurant before the arrival of Hurricane Maria in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
A man photographs the waves before the arrival of Hurricane Maria in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
Women walk against the wind before the arrival of Hurricane Maria in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
Locals rest inside a shelter before the arrival of the Hurricane Maria in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
A woman with a flashlight illuminates her baby inside a shelter before the arrival of the Hurricane Maria in Punta Cana September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
A man tries to salvage a table belonging to his restaurant before the arrival of Hurricane Maria in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
Men ride motorcyles along a flooded street in Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, as Hurricane Maria approaches on September 20, 2017. The government of the Dominican Republic told people to stay home from their public and private sector jobs on Thursday, when the hurricane is expected to hit the island. / AFP PHOTO / Erika SANTELICES (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
A man rides a motorbike on the street before the arrival of the Hurricane Maria in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
People ride a motorbike on the street before the arrival of Hurricane Maria in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story