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[liberationtech] “Hysteria is starting to spread”: Puerto Rico is devastated in the wake of Hurricane Maria
lina at linasrivastava.com
Mon Sep 25 17:04:15 PDT 2017
Friends of mine from the PR diaspora in NYC have put together this effort,
in case anyone wants a way to help remotely beyond donations:
This is from the description they've circulated: "Based on the estimation
that the island of Puerto Rico will be without electric power for months,
the Puerto Rican Diaspora in New York and Connecticut have organized
"EcoKit," a lightweight and eco friendly duffle bag for off the grid
survival. Eco Kit Puerto Rico gives you an itemized list carefully selected
for Puerto Rico's resilience after Hurricane Maria. The list serves as a
guide for organizations, communities, families and individuals. We've
partnered up with Loisaida Center in the Lower East Side NYC as collection
base for Eco Kit items. There, kits are assembled and picked up by
organizations' liaisons who are flying to the island and distributing them
On Mon, Sep 25, 2017 at 7:53 PM, Yosem Companys <ycompanys at gmail.com> wrote:
> “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 on September 25, 2017 5:06 pm
> 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.
> “Being without power is huge,” says Mutter. “Just how quickly they can get
> it back is still an unknown thing. But it’s extremely important they get it
> going to suppress the chances of illness following the storm.”
> Puerto Rico is the most populated island Maria hit. And the crisis there
> is particularly intense. For one, it’s exacerbated by lack of
> communications. (1,360 out of 1,600 cellphone towers on the island are
> out.) Many communities have been isolated from the outside world for days,
> relying only on radios for news. The communications shortage means the full
> extent of the crisis has not been assessed.
> "The devastation in Puerto Rico has set us back nearly 20 to 30 years,"
> Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez told CBS News. "I
> can't deny that the Puerto Rico of now is different from that of a week
> ago. The destruction of properties, of flattened structures, of families
> without homes, of debris everywhere. The island's greenery is gone."
> The Washington Post reported from Juncos, Puerto Rico, a municipality in
> the Central Eastern region of the island. There, they found a diabetic
> woman afraid that the refrigeration that keeps her insulin preserved will
> soon run out, people living in homes missing roofs or whole second floors,
> and where the villagers asked journalists upon their arrival, “Are you
> There are few hospitals with running generators, CNN reports, and fewer
> with running water. Reuters reports that hospitals are scrambling to find
> diesel fuels to power generators, and that food supplies are running low. A
> cardiovascular surgeon the newswire spoke with explained:
> …without air conditioning, the walls of the operating room were dripping
> with condensation and floors were slippery. ... Most patients had been
> discharged or evacuated to other facilities, but some patients remained
> because their families could not be reached by phone.
> USA Today made it to the town Arecibo on the Northern shore of the island,
> where residents hadn’t heard any news from the outside world for four days,
> and the only source of fresh water is from a single fire hydrant.
> “Hysteria is starting to spread,” Jose Sanchez Gonzalez, mayor of Manati,
> a town on the North shore, told the Associated Press. “The hospital is
> about to collapse. It’s at capacity. … We need someone to help us
> But the list of woes is much longer. An untold number of homes are
> irreparably damaged. Infrastructure is badly damaged. People aren’t
> working. The storm was particularly costly for the agriculture industry:
> “In a matter of hours, Hurricane Maria wiped out about 80 percent of the
> crop value in Puerto Rico,” the New York Times reports.
> Even the National Weather Services Doppler weather radar station on the
> island has been destroyed. That’s the radar that helps meteorologist see
> where thunderstorms and other weather systems are moving in real time. “Not
> having radar does make future storms more hazardous,” says Jeff Weber, a
> meteorologist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
> Meanwhile, new crises keep forming in the wake of the storm. On Friday,
> the National Weather Service issued a dire warning about the Guajataca Dam
> in the Northwestern corner of Puerto Rico, threatening downstream areas
> with deadly floods. Seventy thousand people — enough to fill a small city —
> have been asked to evacuate areas that could be flooded by the nearly 11
> billion gallons of water the dam holds back.
> And leaving is not an option, at least for now. “Travelers at the airport
> on Sunday were told that passengers who do not already have tickets may not
> be able to secure flights out until October 4,” Reuters reports.
> Puerto Rico is an island, which complicates recovery efforts. Supplies
> have to be flown in or arrive via ship. Most of the sick and elderly
> haven’t been able to evacuate.
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