The situation is getting worse in Puerto Rico. All the tenants of modern society are failing. Medicine, transportation, communication, electricity, gas, agriculture, and all of the things we take for granted every day were wiped out by Hurricane Maria in an instant…
The situation is becoming a humanitarian crisis, and this time, its not a foreign country (which are facing their own natural disaster destruction) but US territory Puerto Rico.
The island was absolutely devastated by Hurricane Maria.
Here’s a round-up of the news showing how how the situation is getting worse with each passing hour.
Washington Post is reporting that people in Puerto Rico are desperately seeking FEMA:
Four days after a major hurricane battered Puerto Rico, leaving the entire island in a communications and power blackout, regions outside San Juan remained disconnected from the rest of the island — and the world. Juncos, in a mountainous region southeast of the capital that was slammed with Maria’s most powerful winds, remains isolated, alone, afraid.
For many residents, the challenge of accessing the essentials of modern life — gasoline, cash, food, water — began to sink in. And government officials had no answers for them. Estimates for the return of electricity and basic services will be measured not in days but in weeks and months. For those most vulnerable, far too long.
Many have been openly wondering when help will arrive, whether from local officials or from the federal government. The first thing some people ask when they see outsiders: “Are you FEMA?”
USA Today is reporting on the chaos in the dysfunction of the San Juan Airport
Zero Hedge is reporting that the hospitals are in dire conditions and soon people will start dying because of the inability to treat them:
A week after then-category 4 Hurricane Maria made landfall in densely populated eastern Puerto Rico, electricity remains offline across most of the island, while supplies of staples like gas, food and water are dwindling. Shelters on the island are reportedly running low on food, and the government managers of the emergency response effort are scrambling to evacuate 70,000 people from a river valley that’s in danger of being completely submerged after a nearby dam failed.
And now, Reuters is reporting that hospitals across the island are struggling to continue providing medical services to patients after the storm left many of them flooded, strewn with rubble or relying on diesel-powered generators that will soon run out of fuel. For some, the only option is to evacuate to the United States for treatment.“Among them is Cheira Ruiz and her baby girl Gabriellyz, who was born two weeks ago with a serious heart defect. The newborn was admitted to the Centro Cardiovascular de Puerto Rico in the capital shortly before Maria slammed into the island last Wednesday, but it was impossible for doctors to operate in such precarious conditions.”
Gabriellyz was among the first infants cleared to take a medical flight out of Puerto Rico since the storm. Her parents, who live two hours south of the capital, found out the good news Friday when emergency officials knocked on their door in the town of Guanica and told them to pack for the trip to Miami. With phone service out, the doctors had called one of the island’s radio stations, which broadcast their plea for help in locating the couple.
Hours before the flight was scheduled to depart, the parents learned there was only room for one of them. Mother and baby would fly alone to Miami.
“I’m trying to be strong,” Ruiz said on Saturday.”
Gonzalez’s cardiovascular center was “in shambles,” he told Reuters. Running 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. On the sidewalk outside the cardiac center on Saturday, Jorge Rivera and his wife Dorca approached Gonzalez Cancel to ask about the woman’s father, a patient still inside waiting for triple-bypass surgery. The couple are residents of Savannah, Georgia who were in Puerto Rico to care for their loved one.
The Doctor responded with what we imagine was unwelcome news: They’d have better luck if they took Dorca’s father elsewhere.With the hospital scaling down operations and the island’s infrastructure on its knees, Gonzalez Cancel estimated he would not perform another open heart surgery for a month or more. His advice to the couple: leave.
“I am talking to you, not as a physician, I am talking to you as a human being,” he said. “Get him on a plane. You can be in Miami in two and a half hours.”
And there is not way to transact with credit/debit cards, electronically, or with Bitcoin because everything is cash only:
The cash economy has reigned in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria decimated much of the U.S. commonwealth last week, leveling the power grid and wireless towers and transporting the island to a time before plastic existed. The state of affairs could carry on for weeks or longer in some remote parts of the commonwealth, and that means it could be impossible to trace revenue and enforce tax rules.
Although Bloomberg apparently has found plenty of gourmet hamburgers even if the island is decimated:
In post-hurricane San Juan on Monday, commerce picked up ever so slightly. With a little effort, you could get the basics and sometimes more: diapers, medicine, or even a gourmet hamburger smothered in fried onions and gorgonzola cheese.
We wonder how that’s possible since the power has been out for several days, 80% of the agriculture in Puerto Rico has been destroyed.
Farmers are saying there will be no food in Puerto Rico agriculture of a year or more:
For as far as he could see, every one of his 14,000 trees was down. Same for the yam and sweet pepper crops. His neighbor, Luis A. Pinto Cruz, known to everyone here as “Piña,” figures he is out about $300,000 worth of crops. The foreman down the street, Félix Ortiz Delgado, spent the afternoon scrounging up the scraps that were left of the farm he manages. He found about a dozen dried ears of corn that he could feed the chickens. The wind had claimed the rest.
“There will be no food in Puerto Rico,” Mr. Rivera predicted. “There is no more agriculture in Puerto Rico. And there won’t be any for a year or longer.”
Hurricane Maria made landfall here Wednesday as a Category 4 storm. Its force and fury stripped every tree of not just the leaves, but also the bark, leaving a rich agricultural region looking like the result of a postapocalyptic drought. Rows and rows of fields were denuded. Plants simply blew away.
In a matter of hours, Hurricane Maria wiped out about 80 percent of the crop value in Puerto Rico — making it one of the costliest storms to hit the island’s agriculture industry, said Carlos Flores Ortega, Puerto Rico’s secretary of the Department of Agriculture.
“It’s not that it is easy making a living here — but Puerto Ricans are a very resourceful and talented people,” says Morales. The Cupey resident, who was born in Germany and raised in New York and San Juan, says the pressure to migrate is constant.
While it’s true that the economic collapse has caused historic levels of migration, it has also inspired ingenuity, creativity and hustle for those who are staying. Small tech start-ups are popping up and entrepreneurs are launching pop up stores and shops. And it’s not just small businesses which are opening its doors; a new $435 million luxury mall near the airport opened last month to appeal to tourists as well as residents.
The island also has a vigorous underground economy. People are bartering and swapping services for goods, setting up flea markets and running side home businesses, including hair salons, construction services, the selling of consignment clothing and catering services to make ends meet.