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The Trump administration had said a waiver was not needed for Puerto Rico because there were enough us -flagged ships available to ferry goods to the island.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the act was lifted Thursday morning, and it "will go into effect immediately".

Bossert says news of the devastation and frustration on the island isn't so much wrong as it is outdated.

Most of the Caribbean island's 3.4 million people also are without electricity.

But both sides of Congress urged Mr Trump to agree to lift the ban, saying it would speed up and lower the cost of the recovery.

More than a quarter of all pharmaceutical drugs exported from the US are made in Puerto Rico.

Critics had charged the government was slow to issue such a waiver for Puerto Rico after Maria, which was the most powerful hurricane to hit the island in almost 90 years.

President Donald Trump waived laws forbidding foreign ships from transporting goods between USA ports and Puerto Rico Thursday.

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The situation in Puerto Rico is dire - few of the hospitals are functioning and about 44% of residents are without clean drinking water, according to the US Department of Defense.

The decision to forgo the act came after critics blasted Washington for not immediately lifting the obscure and almost 100-year-old law that requires all goods ferried between US ports to be carried on ships built, owned and operated by Americans.

Though Puerto Rico, a United States territory, is in the midst of a severe humanitarian crisis brought on by Category 4 storm Hurricane Maria, you might not know it if your primary source of news was President Donald Trump's Twitter account.

Scott added: "I have directed the Florida National Guard and FWC to be prepared for deployment as soon as we receive a formal request for assistance from Puerto Rico, and we already have an airman from the Florida Air National Guard on the ground in Puerto Rico coordinating air operations".

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"We've got to just keep being creative and thinking, OK, so what are the needs?" That order included Puerto Rico, but expired last week shortly after Maria struck. That means goods going from the mainland to Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam, or even from Texas to New England, have to travel on USA ships, even if they're not the most economical transport or readily available.

Rosselló said many people are short on food, and some are waiting in lines up to six hours for water.

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