Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday wrapped up his fifth trip to Puerto Rico since it was devastated by Hurricane Maria.
He spent Tuesday morning checking in on the residents of Orocovis, a small town nestled in the mountains, located about an hour outside San Juan.
Following Hurricane Maria last fall, residents in towns like Orocovis suffered the most. Not only was there no electricity or running water, but aid workers had trouble reaching victims because mudslides washed parts of the road away, making more remote locations inaccessible.
While the immediate need for food and water has subsided, things are hardly back to normal.
"The need is different. So a lot of folks, again, they're saying, 'Oh, I want to send clothes.' They don't necessarily need clothes and the water," Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. said. "What they need is to rebuild their homes, what they need to do is rebuild the electric grid."
"Flying into Puerto Rico, all you see are blue tarps — blue tarps which dot the landscape," Public Advocate Letitia James said. "There are so many homes that don't have roofs."
When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, it made its way up from the south through the central part of the island before stalling, resulting in some of these areas getting hit a lot harder than San Juan and some of the other cities along the coast. One person described the roofs of houses in Orocovis getting torn off almost like a tin can.
There was also some controversy when the initial death toll from the storm was greatly underestimated.
Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who has appeared with Cuomo during his previous trips, did not show up for any of the events on this one. In an exclusive interview, NY1 asked Cuomo if there was any tension between him and Rosselló.
"No, we are going to see the governor tomorrow. "Look, to come up with a death toll is not that easy," Cuomo said. "When you have a government in chaos and an island in chaos, I wouldn't be surprised that they had trouble tracking the number."
The journey marked Cuomo's fifth trip to Puerto Rico since the hurricane. Some upstate residents have criticized him for coming to cities like Buffalo and Syracuse far less frequently than that lately.
"I've been to Buffalo and central New York many more times than five times. So that is just factually Bizarro Land," Cuomo said. "[We went to] Puerto Rico because they needed the help, we could provide the help.”
Cuomo faces a Democratic primary against Cynthia Nixon in September.