THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz is monitoring relief efforts in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
The storm left much of the island without resources, including electricity and clean drinking water.
"This is a terrible humanitarian crisis," Ruiz said. "Already, there's only one fully-operating hospital. Patients, they don't have the medicine. They don't have the food. They don't have the nutrition, the water, [or] the care that they need to stay healthy. And some of them may not have it to stay alive."
The scenes are similar to what the Congressman saw in 2010, when before heading to Washington D.C., he went to Haiti to provide medical aid alongside first responders in the wake of a deadly earthquake.
"I was with them, in fact, riding in Humvees in the middle of the night searching for communities that never received aid," Ruiz said. "The next morning, I was responsible for sending doctors and nurses and medics out there, in order to provide the medical treatment that they needed to save a limb, to save a life and to maintain their nutrition and their health."
But he said the response to Puerto Rico has been different compared with Haiti.
"I'm not seeing what I saw in Haiti in Puerto Rico," Ruiz said. "We need a lot more soldiers. We need a lot more equipment. We need a lot faster pace of repairing the airports, the ports and the roads. And we need a lot more aid in the supply chain in Puerto Rico."
Ruiz said he hopes to see change and unity come soon.
"Stop the name-calling," he said. "We need to stop the partisan bickering, and come together as a country. We need to focus on saving lives, because lives are now in jeopardy in Puerto Rico."
Ruiz said he is considering heading to Puerto Rico to help out.
He also encourages any valley residents with family on the island to contact his office for any assistance.