Does Puerto Rico 2017 = New Orleans 2005?
— NYU Primatology (@nyuprimatology) September 25, 2017
The picture above reminds me of Hurricane Katrina.
So does this.
For hospitals across this region, the challenges are mounting. After the power went out, back-up generators at some hospitals failed quickly. Other hospitals are running critically low on diesel. Fuel is so precious that deliveries are made by armed guards to prevent looting, according to Dr. Ivan Gonzalez Cancel, a cardiovascular surgeon and director of the heart transplant program at Centro Cardiovascular.
...“I think this might be a calm before we see an influx as other hospitals lose generators,” said Commander Michael Garner, a regional coordinator for the effort.
...Dr. Juan Carlos Sotomonte, the medical director of the Centro Medico‘s cardiovascular unit, said intervention – divine or otherwise – is needed fast.
“If this is not taken care of, people are going to start dying,” he said.
What is needed is a massive response, but I don't see it happening.
No one in power seems to acknowledge the extent of the problem.
The problem is that roughly 80 percent of transmission lines, which take power from the plants to distribution centers, are down. Nearly all the local power lines that run to residences and businesses have likely also been destroyed.
The damage is so severe that simply repairing the electrical grid may not be an option. “We really should think in terms of rebuilding at this point,” says Ken Buell, director of Emergency Response and Recovery with the US Department of Energy. Paying for it will be a challenge, however: the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, is bankrupt, with at least $9 billion in debt, The New York Times reported in July. “They’re saying as far as economic impact, we're talking probably billions of dollars of impact,” Buell says. “So it's a big deal.”
...The local power authority hasn’t finished assessing the damage to power lines that run from the distribution centers to residences and businesses, “but they're assuming that it's near 100 percent,” Buell says.
Since Puerto Rico is an island, damage to its ports and airports are hindering efforts to send help.
Puerto Rico's already bankrupt economy has a complication from having no power - no credit.
“Cash only,” said Abraham Lebron, the store manager standing guard at Supermax, a supermarket in San Juan’s Plaza de las Armas. He was in a well-policed area, but admitted feeling like a sitting duck with so many bills on hand. “The system is down, so we can’t process the cards. It’s tough, but one finds a way to make it work.”
The cash economy has reigned in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria decimated much of the U.S. commonwealth last week, leveling the power grid and wireless towers and transporting the island to a time before plastic existed. The state of affairs could carry on for weeks or longer in some remote parts of the commonwealth, and that means it could be impossible to trace revenue and enforce tax rules.