For millions of people the current situation on the ground in Puerto Rico is as follows: very little food, no water service, no electricity, very limited gas, limited shelter, and very weak infrastructure - including telecommunication. On most instances, no jobs to report to. No airport!
Despite media reports, my husband, a City of Rochester firefighter, has had conversations which leads him to believe that help is NOT on the way - at least not yet. Contributory factors are the very difficult emergency delivery model of an island and U.S. resources already stretched thin due to the existing need in Florida and Texas.
This assessment matches the description of actual conditions in and around San Juan as reported to us by our son, Carlos. What is more, conditions are deteriorating rapidly. Widespread looting and lawlessness has begun.
Twenty-four hours after the hurricane, our son's house flooded! Forty-eight hours after the hurricane, gas rationing was in effect along with a 6 o’clock curfew. My son and his wife waited in line for 5 hours to buy the maximum allotted - $20 worth of gas. After visiting a few internationally branded restaurant that were closed, they managed to get a cheap meal at Burger King before it closed. The island and its inhabitants are facing a tremendous humanitarian crisis that worsens hourly! Going forward, we anticipate the outbreaks of disease that are associated with long-term exposure to sewage.
We are monitoring the situation closely and will likely need to get people out of the island ASAP. Those who remain will face a lengthy recovery process of months, if not years, requiring the accumulation and thoughtful application of significant resources.
Today, we are grateful for life and the generosity of supportive friends and colleagues.
Many blessings to you!
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Hurricane Maria Video Coverage
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- Jason Nowell
- Theresa Gould
- Christina Fenton
- Jill DeBona
Frances Salgado Givens