Federal Emergency Management Agency head Brock Long hit out at criticism of the administration’s handling of the crisis in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, saying it was the most “challenging” relief effort in U.S. history.

“I think the secretary’s words are being taken out of context,” Long said in reference to the backlash Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke received for calling the recovery “a good news story.” “The bottom line is that this is the most logistically challenging event the United States has ever seen and we have been moving and pushing as fast as the situation allows.”

The FEMA administration confirmed 16 people had died on Puerto Rico, which was lashed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.

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