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Buzzfeed: Puerto Rico's Local Mayors Are The Front Line Of Relief Efforts As They Wait For The Government


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https://www.buzzfeed.com/edwinjusino/puerto-ricos-local-mayors?utm_term=.hh18Dy2RxE#.hlp07l8BMO

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Puerto Rico's Local Mayors Are The Front Line Of Relief Efforts As They Wait For The Government

 

More than week after Hurricane Maria smashed through Puerto Rico, leaving at least 16 people dead, the island barely has reliable electricity, clean water, and telecommunications — all while suffering from security concerns. With the American federal government being criticized for a slow response, it has been up to the mayors of Puerto Rico to help the island and keep order and pressure on higher officials amid the devastation.

 

The metropolitan area of San Juan — which comprises the municipalities of San Juan, Guaynabo, Bayamón, Toa Baja, Carolina, Trujillo Alto and Cataño — is mostly still standing. There is still no electricity to speak of in the majority of those areas, except pockets of communities around hospitals that have begun to receive service from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (AEE or PREPA). For residents of the island — who are US citizens — shock, despair, and questions of why are setting in. The moment feels like their 9/11, with people’s lives changed forever.

 

Just on Friday, San Juan's mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, blasted the acting director of Homeland Security for calling the government response to the hurricane a "good news story" and saying she was "very satisfied" with the administration's "ability to reach people."

 

"Well, maybe from where she's standing it's a good news story. When you are drinking from a creek, it's not a good news story. When you don't have food for a baby, it's not a good news story... This is a people are dying story," Cruz said on CNN.

 

Lines have become the daily ritual around Puerto Rico, for gasoline, ATMs, food from restaurants that are only equipped for to-go orders, or even lining up on the main highways to gain access to what little cellphone coverage and internet is available. Most, if not all of these services, are tied to the gasoline and diesel fuel supplies and their sparse availability.

 

Most of the mayors blame the state government for the sluggish response.

 

Yabucoa, the municipality in southeastern Puerto Rico near where the eye of Maria made landfall, is also home to a very important port that brings in and distributes, according to the mayor, 33% of all the gasoline and diesel in Puerto Rico. In this crisis, the operation of this port has to be a priority for the government. Yet Rafael Surrillo, the mayor of Yabucoa, claims that he has had no help from either the state or federal government. Surrillo went to the Joint Emergency Operations Center (JEOC) located at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan Wednesday trying to get help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Katrina was pure incompetence by Bush and his team but I never thought Bush was necessarily a bad person in general. Trump, on the other hand, is just a truly awful human being with no redeeming qualities whatsoever who attacks and throws disaster victims under the bus because they were mean to him. Complete ****ing narcissistic sociopath with no true capacity for empathy or remorse. 

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Trump is being his usual self, which is to say he's making things harder for everyone.  I feared it wouldn't go well from the start because I don't think FEMA is built to handle three concurrent disasters.  They struggled with Katrina when it was essentially their only focus.  In this scenario the greatest devestation came to an island (which makes moving people and supplies harder and slower) and it was the third significant hit.  FEMA was stretched thin going into this.  

 

I do have questions about PRs local government as well.  When we were watching the devastation in Houston, local authorities were prominent.  They needed help, obviously, but with the coverage of Puerto Rico it feels like the island was caught entirely unprepared.  I see very few images of Puerto Rican police and government officials getting control of the situation, and many interviews of mayors asking for help.  The ports couldn't find enough truck drivers.  A mayor was demanding FEMA get crews to fixing the roads, why would they need to wait for a FEMA, is their transportation department a total loss?  That's alarming if true.  These are all things local authorities should have more control over than the media is showing.  Now maybe the media simply isn't showing it, which is entirely possible.

 

My heart goes out to the people of Puerto Rico.  They're in a world of hurt and every level of government seems to be failing them.  

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Granted, what I'm doing is a lot of assuming.  

 

But I just assume that PR's infrastructure is going to be more fragile than Houston's.  That their population will be more packed.  Their public institutions not as professional or dedicated.  

 

And they're an island.  I would assume that they take a bigger hit.  

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3 minutes ago, Larry said:

Granted, what I'm doing is a lot of assuming.  

 

But I just assume that PR's infrastructure is going to be more fragile than Houston's.  That their population will be more packed.  Their public institutions not as professional or dedicated.  

 

And they're an island.  I would assume that they take a bigger hit.  

That and litterly everyone on the island is affected. Half the national guard isn't reporting because they are out with their families trying to get water, food, and shelter. Half of the truck drivers aren't driving for the same reason.

 

With Houston, Florida, or even Katrina people from the surrounding areas that were fortunate enough to not be hit could go fill that gap. They could stay an hour away, drive in each day, then drive back home. Heck, we had line crews from NC down in NO helping restore power.

 

With this, unless you have like 20 cruise liners off the coast ferrying in aid workers each day who don't have to worry about basic survival like the people that live there do, the work force to distribute supplies, clear roads, and rebuild infrastructure just isn't there.

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"The level of devastation and the impact on the first responders we closely work with was so great that those people were having to take care of their families and homes to an extent we don't normally see," said an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want his statement to be interpreted as criticism of authorities in Puerto Rico. "The Department of Defense, FEMA and the federal government are having to step in to fulfill state and municipal functions that we normally just support."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/politics/lost-weekend-how-trumps-time-at-his-golf-club-hurt-the-response-to-maria/2017/09/29/ce92ed0a-a522-11e7-8c37-e1d99ad6aa22_story.html

 

Pretty informative on how we got to this point.

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To give a little perspective on what an average person is up against there at the moment:

 

A good buddy has family down there, a brother and his parents. Brother and parents live about 4 hours apart, and the brother is about 2 hours from San Juan. Because San Juan is the only place with cell signal, the brother drove from his home the 4 hours to check on the parents, then back to his home to make sure things hadn't been looted, then drove to San Juan to call my buddy and report them safe, then had to return home. Took my buddy over a week to get that phone call. 

 

The island doesn't have reliable and organized infrastructure to begin with, but when half of the people you rely on (truckers, EMT, etc.) all have to skip work to take care of their own...things get real fast,

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Plus the roads are washed out, and they showed a satellite night map of Puerto Rico, before there was light all around the island plus the interior. After the hurricane, there was sporadic light around the perimeter and none in the interior. 

 

The flooding isn't receding very fast either. People are starting to get ill because of no potable water and clean food. 

 

The helicopters are arriving now, should have been there as soon as they could fly. 

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Right wing media is spreading rumors that Trump has already sent millions of tons of food and water to Puerto Rico, but it is sitting on the docks rotting because the mayor of San Juan wants to make Trump look bad.  

 

Par for the course.  Nothing is beneath them.  

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Just now, Predicto said:

Right wing media is spreading rumors that Trump has already sent millions of tons of food and water to Puerto Rico, but it is sitting on the docks rotting because the mayor of San Juan wants to make Trump look bad.  

 

Par for the course.  Nothing is beneath them.  

 

I thought it was because of the teamsters strike?

 

The mayor is a bit off to wear that shirt.

 

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