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After a day spent working in an office in the dark, without air-conditioning, Iris Díaz arrived at her neighborhood CVS drugstore desperate for what has quickly become one of the most sought-after items in Puerto Rico: bottled water.
Three weeks after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, the challenge of finding enough water to drink and cook with remains enormous across the island, even in its largest city.
People are so desperate to find clean drinking water in isolated areas of the island, the Environmental Protection Agency says there are reports of Puerto Ricans getting drinking water from wells at hazardous waste sites.
As clean drinking water remains scarce in some parts of the island, Puerto Ricans are simply asking for help now, reports CBS News' David Beganud. Four people there have died from the bacterial disease known as leptospirosis, which is spread through contaminated water.
President Trump served notice Thursday that he may pull back federal relief workers from Puerto Rico, effectively threatening to abandon the U.S. territory amid a staggering humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Declaring the U.S. territory's electrical grid and infrastructure to have been a “disaster before hurricanes,” Trump wrote Thursday that it will be up to Congress how much federal money to appropriate to the island for its recovery efforts and that recovery workers will not stay “forever.” In a trio of tweets, Trump wrote” “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”. Three weeks since Maria made landfall, much of Puerto Rico, an island of 3.4 million people, the vast majority of the island remains without power.
It has been three weeks since Hurricane Maria savaged Puerto Rico, and life in the capital city of San Juan inches toward something that remotely resembles a new, uncomfortable form of normalcy.
Late each night, Rafael Surillo Ruiz, the mayor of a town with one of Puerto Rico’s most critical ports, drives for miles on darkened roads, easing around downed power lines and crumpled tree branches — to check his email.
How we rebuild Puerto Rico could be a lesson in how other states and regions should prepare for disasters, but until the Trump administration and the American people reckon with the reality of climate change, we will continue to spend billions of dollars in rebuilding our towns and cities just to watch them be destroyed again when the next storm comes along.
When Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a powerful category four storm on Sept. 20, it knocked out power for the vast majority of the island and killed at least 36 people.
Hurricane Maria's devastation may have set back Puerto Rico's economy so much that it will now take more than a decade to recover, a prominent economist on the island said.
Villamil told the newspaper: "It is going to take Puerto Rico a long time to recover from this.". Maria, a Category 4 storm, left most of Puerto Rico's 3.4 million residents without electricity and water and destroyed the homes of thousands.