An Update On Puerto Rico – Wednesday October 11th

By Susan Kuebler

Three weeks after Hurricane Maria and the situation in Puerto Rico is not improving.  In fact, it is getting worse.  Here are the facts based on FEMA’s own website:

10 percent of the people in San Juan have power.  This is down from yesterday’s figures of 15 percent.

64 percent of the people have access to clean drinking water.  This is up only slightly from yesterday’s figure of 59.9 percent, and is, in the words of FEMA, an approximation.

106 portable generators have been supplied to both Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  This is only a small increase of 14 generators from yesterday’s figures of 92 generators available to both locations.

26 percent of the people in the Virgin Islands have electricity.  This is the same as yesterday.  I guess they didn’t get any of 14 generators that FEMA was able to deliver in one day.

FEMA says that 86 percent of the grocery stores in Puerto Rico are open. But people on the island say that the shelves are practically empty.

Only 392 miles of the island’s 5,073 miles of roads are passable.  This figure is unchanged from yesterday and presents one of the greatest difficulties in delivering supplies to people isolated by the storm.

The Washington Post reports that at least four deaths are being attributed to the spread of leptospirosis, a disease spread by animal urine, and due to exposure to contaminated water supply. The Governor of Puerto Rico says there are 10 reported cases of the disease, which are being investigated now.  Only 60 percent of the island’s waste water treatment plants are operating using generator power.

While FEMA claims that there are 19,000 people on the ground in Puerto Rico to help with disaster relief, the vast majority are federal civilian personnel and the military.  Only 1,400 FEMA workers are actually in Puerto Rico.

Healthcare is another critical issue for the residents.  While FEMA states that 97 percent of the hospitals are open, that statistic is marked with an asterisk, with no further explanation.  The lack of power is seriously testing the hospitals, and according to the Weather Channel, the hospital ship Comfort, which can accommodate up to 250 patients, currently has only seven people were being treated onboard the ship Monday.

In the meantime, the death toll in Puerto Rico continues to climb to at least 45 people at the most recent count.  These numbers are expected to continue to rise daily as the island suffers from lack of food, clean drinking water, and proper medical care.

The town of Guaynabo, where Trump tossed paper towels like basketballs eight days ago, still has no electricity and drinking water remains difficult to find, according to Buzzfeed News.

Donald Trump has obviously moved on to other more important issues, such as the NFL and threatening the federal license of NBC News.  Even the massive fires devastating huge areas of northern California are not enough to distract him from these burning issues.  Or at least not enough for him to tweet about them.

“Let them eat paper towels.”

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