National Guard head: Puerto Rico clean-up will ‘challenge the system’

National Guard head: Puerto Rico clean-up will 'challenge the system'
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U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — The clean-up efforts for U.S. territories following Hurricane Maria are expected to be far more complicated and lengthy than those for Florida and Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, according to the head of the National Guard Bureau.

Gen. Joseph Lengyel said Monday that it will be “a harder response scenario” to restore power and necessary infrastructure, likely taking months.

“Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are not Texas and Florida. They’re out here in the middle of the ocean. It’s more complicated to get people here, it’s more complicated to fix the power grids, it’s more complicated to fix a whole lot of other things,” Lengyel told The Hill while traveling to St. Croix to meet with government officials and assess the damage.

“This response in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands is going to challenge the system.”

Seven people have been killed in the Virgin Islands and 16 in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria earlier this month.

On the ground in St. Croix, downed power lines littered the roadside, roofs were missing and trees were mangled and ripped of all foliage.

A cruise ship contracted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sat at a dock off shore, meant to house 1,400 troops and personnel coming to the island.

Outside a local high school, hundreds of residents lined up for military ready-made meals and water. About 10,000 were…

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