Here is a brief synopsis of what it is like on the West side of the Island right now.
As far as my town, Rincon, on the west coast... help very slowly arriving. Mostly grass roots campaigns . Roads were cleared by all the residents with chainsaws, machetes and we all moved big trees around with our trucks to get them off road. Local farmers and workers later came around with trucks and front end loaders moving debris and carrying away to dump what they could. So theres access now.
No power, no water, no communication other than an occasional wifi signal that may pop up at someones house or business. First 5 days only communication was thru sat phones. One friend of ours had over 100 people a day come to use his sat phone, sometimes people from towns 45min-1hr away who heard by word of mouth there was one at that house. All people just wanting to get word out to families that they were ok. Kinda emotional being there and seeing it all. I was one of the ones in line waiting to use the sat phone.
Fuel trucks come out once every few days and the lines can be miles long. One lady in our town waited 8hrs to get the maximum alotted amount...$10 of fuel!!Thats all they sell per person so everyone can get a little. Other stations people line up for hours cause they heard a fuel truck was coming...and they are there for hours waiting for the truck to arrive. Most gas and diesel is for generators so food in ur fridge wont go bad. All generators running low now and people starting to get worried. Word is fuel is supposed to get more steady deliveries. Houses without access because of downed trees can not get propane trucks in to deliver. Lots of houses have sistern water tanks so they have some water. But those pumps all work on power so you can only run water if ur generator is running. A lot of people collecting rainwater to flush toilets, take showers, water for pets, etc... drinking water is out at all supermarkets so unless u stocked up before, its not good. I hear they should be stocking up again. All is by word of mouth.
About 80-90% of the power poles in our town are broken in half or lying on the roads. So we are all aware power wont be around for a while. Because there is no power, cant use credit cards or atms. Only cash. And banks only letting people withdrawal small amounts of cash to survive. I know a few people in my town whose houses were completely blown away..gone!! I mean like in the wizard of oz gone!! Another friend his whole neighborhood got flooded, houses completely underwater.
Despite all the hardships going on... Our town of Rincon has a tremendous amount of love and sense of community. Everyone helping each other out is amazing!!
Our town is a tourist town. Its our main industry. Many of us live off tourism. It is vital that we recover and have a tourist season this year. If you can not afford to donate right now, please consider visiting beautiful Rincon after things settle down.
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