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Puerto Rico Nervously Prepares for Hurricane Season: ‘What if Another One Comes?’


“The limitation we had with Maria is we had no cash to burn,” stated the governor, Ricardo A. Rosselló.

Emergency managers and enterprise leaders are also involved concerning the logistics of getting support into Puerto Rico. Maria created a bottleneck on the Port of San Juan, which slowed every part from meals to electrical poles.

“What am I most worried about?” Mr. Byrne stated. “A ship sinks in the channel in San Juan, and we can’t bring anything.”

Manuel Reyes Alfonso, executive vice chairman of MIDA, the island’s meals business affiliation, stated wholesale and retail companies continued to expertise delays in receiving cargo. “We are not where we’d like to be, or where we should be,” he stated.

He worries a couple of trucker scarcity and about gradual gasoline supply for turbines. Puerto Rico had gasoline after Maria, however no straightforward option to get it to people, resulting in limitless strains at gasoline stations and a black marketplace for diesel gross sales. FEMA had to herald a gasoline barge for its operations.

Meals is also scarce once more, Mr. Reyes stated, as a result of Puerto Rico continues to impose a tax on inventories. Eliminating the tax may enhance meals shops to a median of 37 days from 26, in response to a survey that the meals affiliation performed of its members in February. A legislative effort to eliminate the tax has stalled, Mr. Reyes stated, partly as a result of lawmakers have but to determine make up for the misplaced income.

Photograph

Puerto Rico officers fear that the island stays weak to a different storm as a result of repairs to the ability grid have been gradual in some areas, together with Las Piedras.

Credit score
Erika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

Rodrigo Lots, president of the Puerto Rico Producers Affiliation, stated he had suggested companies to double their gasoline storage capability, hold their turbines in form and designate an emergency contact off the island to relay data within the occasion cellphone service fails once more.

“We’re still not out of the crisis. If we’re hit by another hurricane like this one, we’re going to lose power again. We’re going to lose connectivity again,” he warned. “But the private sector is going to be much better prepared.”

As soon as the Corps of Engineers departs, the Puerto Rico Electrical Energy Authority, often called Prepa, shall be tasked with finishing unfinished repairs to the ability grid. At a listening to this week of the Senate Committee on Power and Pure Sources in Washington, lawmakers sounded skeptical that Prepa, which has come underneath fierce scrutiny over its early response to the storm, is as much as the job. Consultant González-Colón has requested FEMA to increase the Corps’ keep.

“We sure want to know that you really are ready,” Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska informed Prepa’s new chief, Walter Higgins, on the listening to.

“We feel that we are ready,” Mr. Higgins stated. However, he added, “I don’t doubt that we will have some growing pains.”

In Las Piedras, which sits on the hills south of El Yunque Nationwide Forest, people who’ve electrical energy say it goes out typically. “If a little bit of wind blows through, we will lose power,” stated Roberto Rosado, 53, who nonetheless has metallic shutters on his sliding doorways. “We just lost power now. This is an everyday occurrence.”

Mayor Miguel López, who is called Micky, lately blocked two of the three energy crews from leaving his city. “There was no other option,” stated Mr. López, whose unorthodox technique succeeded in retaining the linemen at work.

His director of emergency administration, Xavier Muñoz, stated the one upside of Maria was that it had scared residents into taking hurricane plans significantly.

“Shelters are going to get full,” he predicted. “I have 220 cots right now, and I think that’s not going to be enough.”

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Updated: May 14, 2018 — 10:10 am

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