We recently had a message from a reader who lives in Trujillo Alto, in Puerto Rico. On his street, 3 out of 15 houses have electricity and the rest have no electricity.
While we know about the people in rural areas who are still far from getting access to modern conveniences, and we know about those who had electricity and lost it when a power station in San Juan exploded, there are many people like this reader who feel that the recovery is happening around them and they are being overlooked.
“It appears that power is being restored all around but no completion on this Street. We cannot understand why if power is functioning in the first three homes, why cannot it be restored to the rest of the residents?” the message ran. “We are afraid that someone’s list will show completion and we will again be left behind.”
“We really don’t care who is to blame or who is at fault!,” the message goes on, leading into a list of problems, including these:
- The humidity from surrounding mountains and streams is causing health-threatening mildew and mold.
- Without air conditioning or fans, residents must leave their doors and windows open, allowing disease-carrying insects into their homes. The message mentioned poisonous centipedes as well as mosquitoes.
- Residents are cooking on camping stoves and using generators sparingly. The fuel for these devices is costly. Those who do not have generators can’t keep food cool and safe to eat.
- Dark streets make residents fearful.
The message says that both physical and mental health are threatened by these circumstances. Those of us who have electricity may have trouble imagining the problems caused by months without power. Food storage and cooking are being mentioned frequently by commenters and bloggers. Fears about health and hygiene are reasonable, too.
“We know that efforts for restoral have been ongoing, and there is a lot to do to get power restored everywhere,’ the message continued. “We see, however, groups of workers either waiting for instructions… a crew may be working toward a goal and is then pulled and sent elsewhere not finishing what is started. Is there an overall plan?”
We at PR51st are devoted to education, and we do not have any control over the power recovery efforts. We sympathize with those still having to cope with power outages, and we appreciate receiving information about how things are going in different parts of the Island.
If you live in the states, please contact your representatives. New funding has been approved for Puerto Rico, and perhaps the electric grid will soon be repaired all over the Island. But we know that temporary fixes will be just that… temporary.
The experience of Hurricane Maria has shown that it is essential to fight for statehood for Puerto Rico.