Puerto Rico: Not a 48 hour News Cycle

police with mask

Cholera and disease outbreaks are possible due to the lack of clean water and refrigeration

Puerto Rico cannot be a 48-hour news cycle.  Many of the camera and news crews may have left Puerto Rico, but the devastation is here for much longer.  Looking at the top stories in the US news, it seems that the media has moved on to sex scandals and revisiting the kneeling football players and other distractions.  Please do not lose focus or let yourselves be distracted.   As I write this, almost the entire island of Puerto Rico (3.4 million US citizens) remain without electricity.   To illustrate how fragile the electric grid is in Puerto Rico, we had 11% of the island with electricity yesterday, only to lose half of those due to a grid failure (going back to about 6% of the island with power).

It is now almost 20 days since Hurricane Maria provided the second hurricane in a week to impact Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  In the capital, things are getting better, as this is where FEMA and other agencies are headquartered.  However, leaving the capital, things go downhill quickly.  The majority of residents outside of San Juan remain without running water.  Residents have resorted to gathering untreated water in buckets or emptied jugs.

Thousands of families remain displaced with no home to return to.  Thousands have no job to go back to.  More pressing, those in need of medical treatments remain at the mercy of the overstressed hospitals, if they can even get there.

National Guard delivering water

A water truck from the National Guard is helping today. But it will take months for water services to be restored.

There are some accounts that this may be about to get much, much worse.  Rumors of outbreaks of hepatitis, cholera and other illnesses are making their way to the local Puerto Rican news.  Those that are sick are frequently stuck with trying to find their own way to an open hospital.  Roads may be unpassable, or if not, gasoline difficult to obtain.  Dialysis treatments and others with medical needs are left to fend for themselves, turning an otherwise treatable condition into a life and death matter.

Untreated water pipes

Untreated water on a road side near Utuado, Puerto Rico

Today is October 9th and we¬†still have 60% with no water service. ¬†70% with no phone service. ¬†94% no electricity. ¬†Keep Puerto Rico in the news and in your thoughts. ¬†Pressure Congress to eliminate the Jones act (to eliminate the requirement that ships pass via the states first, transfer goods to US flagged ships, then come to Puerto Rico), and to pardon Puerto Rico’s debt (the same right’s as a state would have, such as Michigan). ¬†If you would like to do something, please consider donating to our fundraiser https://youcaring.com/hurricanemaria. ¬†Or you can order goods directly on our Amazon wish list.¬†¬†Our wish list we are adding items that are being requested by locals: ¬†baby wipes, cleaning wipes, gloves, sanitary products, solar charging stations…We will be adding to this list as needs change. ¬†The items will be shipped directly to our guest house for distribution. ¬† Eventually, we will change the shipping direct to a distribution center closer to the areas in need.