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Puerto Rico Is Under Flash Flood Watch as Humanitarian Crisis Drags On

Ten days after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a Category four storm, the island is coping with a humanitarian disaster as thousands and thousands stay with out electrical energy and water, and restricted entry to fuel and money.

At least 16 individuals have died within the US commonwealth as a results of the storm, the federal government has stated.

The majority of the island is with out energy, apart from individuals and services utilizing mills, the US Energy Department says. And heavy rain is predicted this weekend — and that would make restoration efforts on the island of three.four million individuals even tougher.

Parts of Puerto Rico had been below a flash flood watch Friday due to anticipated rain, which “will exacerbate the current situation,” the National Weather Service stated.

Still, army troops and catastrophe aid employees are enhancing provide chains, and “you’ll see more presence, more equipment, in support of the municipalities” over the subsequent few days, Federal Emergency Management Agency official Alejandro de la Campa informed reporters Friday.

Hurricane survivors receive food and water being given out by volunteers and municipal police as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Sept. 28, 2017, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. (Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Hurricane survivors obtain meals and water being given out by volunteers and municipal police as they take care of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Sept. 28, 2017, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. (Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Aid supply

• About three,000 crates of private-sector items — such as meals meant for grocery shops — have been sitting idle on the Port of San Juan, partly as a result of not all drivers have reported again to work since Maria, and different logistical challenges, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló stated Friday.

• The authorities will name the non-public house owners and ask whether or not they can decide up the products. If they can not, the federal government would require the house owners to promote the products to the Puerto Rican authorities in order that it might ship them to the individuals, Rosselló stated Friday.

• None of the idle containers carried assist despatched by FEMA; that assist was regularly distributed, FEMA officers have stated.

• Rosselló’s rely of the idle crates was decrease than that of two delivery business officers.

• Officials are sending assist to 11 distribution factors, the place mayors can prepare to choose up provides and distribute them to their communities, FEMA’s de la Campa stated Friday. FEMA has despatched assist on to some communities that haven’t been capable of entry distribution factors, he stated.

• Emergency employees have been to all 78 of Puerto Rico’s municipalities and began coordinating with native leaders, de la Campa stated.

• President Donald Trump on Thursday approved a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act, a federal regulation that limits delivery to US ports by overseas vessels. Rosselló and different US officers had argued waiver would expedite the delivery of provides to the island.

• Nearly 1 million meals and about 2 million liters of water have been handed out as of Friday, in response to FEMA.

Curfew hours diminished

• The government-mandated night curfew instituted to stop looting will now begin at 9 p.m., as a substitute of seven, Rosselló stated Friday. That offers residents — a lot of whom are spending hours in line at banks, gasoline stations and groceries — two further hours to get duties carried out. The curfews nonetheless finish at 5 a.m.

• Truck drivers carrying necessities had been declared exempt from the curfew Thursday.

Water

• Water service has been restored to about 45% to 50% of the island’s prospects, de la Campa stated Friday. That’s up from about 33% from Thursday, he stated.

Evacuees line up to get on a Royal Caribbean relief boat sailing to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, after Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, on Sept. 28, 2017 in San Juan. (Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Evacuees line as much as get on a Royal Caribbean aid boat crusing to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, after Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, on Sept. 28, 2017 in San Juan. (Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Hospitals

• Hospitals in Puerto Rico have been struggling to deal with sufferers. Some don’t have sufficient medicine, whereas others have a scarcity of gasoline for mills.

• Officials have given conflicting details about the variety of hospitals which might be open. FEMA stated Thursday that 48 of the island’s 69 hospitals had been operational. On Friday, Rosselló stated 36 hospitals had been open, with energy delivered frequently or thorough diesel-powered mills.

• The US Army has been delivering gasoline to hospitals as a part of a rotation plan developed by FEMA to make sure the services have steady energy, officers stated.

• Still many roads are impassable, stopping individuals from reaching medical services.

Gas stations

• Many Puerto Ricans are ready in line for hours to get fuel. There had been about 100 vehicles backed up early Friday at one San Juan station. A person on the entrance of the road informed CNN’s Boris Sanchez he’d been there since 9 p.m. Thursday, and had slept in his automotive, ready for the station to open.

• About 675 of the island’s roughly 1,110 fuel stations had been working as of Friday morning, in response to the Puerto Rican authorities’s web site for info on the restoration.

Bank closures

• Puerto Ricans are working low on cash, and plenty of companies, such as supermarkets and fuel stations, will settle for solely money as a result of bank card methods are down.

• At least half of all financial institution branches stay shuttered, partly as a result of they’ll’t get sufficient armored vans with fuel, or truck drivers, to ship the money safely.

• The roughly 90 financial institution branches open are limiting the quantities individuals can withdraw per day, the governor stated Friday, to make sure everybody can get some money, even when it won’t be all they need.
• Banks are additionally struggling to get software program and security methods again on-line, in response to Zoime Alvarez, vp of the Association of Banks of Puerto Rico.

San Juan mayor: ‘Damn it, this is not a good news story’

• San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz reacted with anger Friday to a press release from appearing Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, who had stated earlier that the federal government’s response in Puerto Rico “is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people.”

• “Damn it, this is not a good news story. This is a ‘people are dying’ story. It’s a life-or-death story,” Cruz informed CNN’s “New Day” on Friday morning.

Carlos Pagan walks in his house destroyed by Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa, in the east of Puerto Rico, on Sept. 28, 2017. (Credit: Hector Retamal / AFP / Getty Images)

Carlos Pagan walks in his home destroyed by Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa, within the east of Puerto Rico, on Sept. 28, 2017. (Credit: Hector Retamal / AFP / Getty Images)

 Duke traveled to Puerto Rico on Friday. In San Juan, she informed reporters that she is “happy” about how laborious everyone seems to be working however stated that “there’s much, much more work to do and we will never be satisfied” till individuals are secure and colleges are open.

• Asked for her response to the mayor’s rebuke, Duke stated she was referring to how properly everyone seems to be working collectively: “The end of my statement about good news was, it was good news that the people of Puerto Rico, the many public servants of the US and the government of Puerto Rico are working together, and … it’s nice to see communities together trying to recover and support each other.”

Other federal response

• The Pentagon has appointed Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan to guide all army hurricane restoration efforts in Puerto Rico. Buchanan is a three-star common and the commander of US Army North (fifth Army).

• At least 10,000 federal aid employees are on the island, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders stated Thursday.

• There are four,400 active-duty US troops and about 2,800 National Guard forces in Puerto Rico.

Airports

• San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and eight different airfields are open or open with restrictions, FEMA stated.

A protracted evening at Puerto Rican airport

• The San Juan airport began permitting greater than a dozen business passenger planes to fly out and in after air site visitors management providers had been restored.

Seaports

The Port of San Juan and 7 different ports had been open Thursday, some with restrictions, the division stated.

Rebuilding and shifting ahead

• The US Army Corps of Engineers have been assigned to assist Puerto Rico rebuild its infrastructure, a FEMA deputy director stated.

• The US Federal Highway Administration has introduced the fast availability of $40 million to assist restore roads and bridges throughout the island and harm associated to mudslides and flooding.

• The University of Central Florida and Miami Dade College are providing in-state tuition to displaced faculty college students from Puerto Rico, officers stated.

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