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Reports: Rat infestation impedes Puerto Rico donation efforts

An office in Kissimmee, Florida, housing donations meant to go to Puerto Rico has closed due to a rat infestation, according to reports. The infestation contaminated supplies that never made it to the island, which was devastated last year by Hurricane Mariathe Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday. 

"These goods here are wasting and right now you have people in Puerto Rico starving because of the current crisis, and there's no excuse for this whatsoever," said Hector Rodriguez, formerly the office's community officer, reported.

The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) office had collected the donations from private individuals as well as local organizations in the wake of Maria, said PRFAA's executive director Carlos Mercader. Mercader has been managing the Kissimmee office after Frances Ortiz resigned last month, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Mercader said the office of the PRFAA doesn't have the budget for the costs of shipping the supplies. He said that previous efforts to send the food, water and other supplies through other organizations "have been unsuccessful." 

The office had previously been infested, about a month before the massive storm hit Puerto Rico, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

According to, organizers in Washington, D.C., running the office said it has been closed for eight business days. 

"The building where the office is located is deteriorated, aside from being old, which is why [Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration] has decided to move the office to a more appropriate and dignified space to continue offering the services to the public," said Mercader, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

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