via US Department of Defense
Having running water may be a common thing for many people in the United States, but in Puerto Rico it’s a luxury. Two weeks ago, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and more than half the island has no water and very little electricity. For them, water has to be reused, meaning it’s not completely clean. In some cases, people are being forced to use water from their toilets to wash themselves.
The water system in Puerto Rico wasn’t the best even before the hurricane. In addition, people are getting sick from drinking contaminated fluids. Although hospitals are open they still don’t have electricity. Many are hooked up to generators, but those aren’t designed to last for weeks and need fuel. Only 50% of aqueducts have been restored. San Juan’s mayor says that the residents are living in “near-death conditions.”
Before Hurricane Maria hit, Hurricane Irma had slammed the north part of the island, which also left people without water and electricity. Puerto Ricans that were affected by Irma have been living without water or electricity for more than 20 days. Hurricane Maria was a category 4 -almost 5 -and made a direct hit to Puerto Rico. It slammed the island with over 20 inches of rain and winds up to 150 miles per hour for more than 30 hours. Hurricane Maria is being considered the worst storm in almost 80 years. The last hurricane that had hit Puerto Rico was in 1998 almost 20 years ago, and the only one that was a category 5 was in 1928.The extreme winds broke palm tree, which blocked highways, and many homes were flooded due to all the rain. Rescue teams had to wait for the storm to pass to be able to help.
Many people are having to take water from leaking pipes due not to having access to open stores. There is a high risk from drinking that water since it comes from the sewage, but people are desperate. According to Erik Olson, a lawyer at the Natural Resources Defense Council, “Some areas may be waiting four to six months. [for water]” Puerto Rico has a long way of recovery, but little buy little they will make it thought.