In Depth

Pitbull sends private jet to airlift cancer patients from Puerto Rico

Rapper praised by hurricane-ravaged island's congresswoman for enabling patients to access chemotherapy

pitbull.jpg

Rapper Pitbull has sent a private jet to hurricane-hit Puerto Rico to airlift cancer patients in need of urgent treatment to US hospitals.

Jenniffer Gonzalez, who represents the Caribbean territory in the US Congress, revealed the musician's act of generosity in a tweet which thanked him for helping sick islanders ensure they could keep receiving their vital chemotherapy.

The musician, whose real name is Armando Perez, shied away from drawing attention to the generous gesture when contacted for comment by CNN. "Thank God we're blessed to help. Just doing my part," he said through a spokesman.

Puerto Rico is still reeling from its mauling at the hands of Hurricane Maria earlier this month. As of Tuesday, only 11 of the island's 69 hospitals had fuel and electricity, CNN reports. The death of two intensive care patients has been attributed to the power outages.

The US government has faced criticism in recent weeks over its response to the disaster unfolding on the island, a US territory.

More than a week after the category 4 hurricane struck on 20 September, "in many places there's no water to drink or bathe in or to flush toilets," Vox reports.

Electricity is limited to vital facilities like hospitals, while food, fuel, and working phone-lines are still in desperately short supply, the news site says, calling Washington DC's response "lackluster".

Several critics have highlighted what they perceive to be the relative indifference shown towards Puerto Rico compared to the US states battered earlier this month by Hurricane Irma.

"Puerto Ricans need supplies and resources just as badly as their fellow Americans in Texas and Florida," Hamilton composer Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote in The Hollywood Reporter.

A recent New York Times poll indicates that almost half of Americans are unaware that the Puerto Ricans are US citizens.

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