Marta Sostre Vazquez reacts as she starts to wade into the San Lorenzo Morovis river with her family, after the bridge was swept away by Hurricane Maria, in Morovis, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Regarding the Sept. 26 front-page article "White House feels the heat over Maria response":

We have 100,000 or so uniformed soldiers on military bases in the United States. Why can't we have a military-type response to remove trees, open roads, and restore power and potable water in Puerto Rico — a Berlin Airlift-type operation for the island's immediate needs?

Why isn't this plan permanently in place to react to emergencies across this country? Or why don't we just evacuate the island and let Wall Street figure out how to get its money back?

Keith Foucher, Allentown, Pa.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A contingency plan that was worked out years ago in case of a devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico would have been worth a ton of words on how to deal with the territory's current critical situation .

Miami is about 1,000 air miles from San Juan, and we're still tut-tutting about how to help these Americans recover ["Rebuilding Puerto Rico," editorial, Sept. 27]. What would happen if a huge hurricane were to hit Hawaii, which is more than twice as far from the mainland as Puerto Rico?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency should have developed a rock-solid what-if plan for Puerto Rico, as hurricanes occur every year in the Atlantic Ocean. Better to have a plan and not have to use it than not have a plan that could forestall unnecessary deaths of Americans.

If he wanted to, President Trump could immediately visit the devastated island. Words don't help people in dire need.

David H. Brown, North Bethesda