“Hysteria is starting to spread”: Puerto Rico is devastated in the wake of Hurricane Maria
No power, little access to water, dwindling food: the situation in Puerto Rico right now.
Updated by Brian Resnick Sep 25, 2017, 5:06pm EDT
Five days after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, bisecting the entire island, the US territory is in the grips of a serious, life-threatening crisis, with humanitarian aid getting in far more slowly than is needed.
The island is running short on food, fuel, and access to clean water and there’s limited communications, which means some communities have received no information about the rescue efforts underway.
Among the greatest threats is the continuing lack of power throughout much of the island, after nearly the entire power grid was knocked offline during the storm (about 80 percent of the transmission infrastructure was destroyed). The New York Times reports it could be four to six months before power is restored on the island. That’s half a year with Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million residents relying on generators, half a year without air conditioning in the tropical climate, half a year where electric pumps can’t bring running water into homes, half a year where even the most basic tasks of modern life are made difficult.
“The devastation is vast,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said in a statement Monday. “Make no mistake — this is a humanitarian disaster involving 3.4 million U.S. citizens.”