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Number Of Puerto Ricans Without Electricity Continues To Rise 3 Weeks After Hurricane Maria, Death Toll Climbs To 45

CLIMATE

Number Of Puerto Ricans Without Electricity Continues To Rise 3 Weeks After Hurricane Maria, Death Toll Climbs To 45




Despite President Trump’s repeated claims that his administration is doing a “great” job in Puerto Rico, the number of residents without electricity is still increasing 3 weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory.

According to Puerto Rico’s official government website status.pr, just 10.6 percent of the island’s 3.4 million U.S. citizens have electricity as of Tuesday morning, a decrease of about six percent from Monday.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosello issued an urgent letter to congressional leaders on Saturday warning that the island is on the verge of simultaneous humanitarian and fiscal disasters in the wake of the storm.

Gov. Rossello told Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a letter that most businesses have been unable to reopen in the wake of the storm, putting the already fiscally shaky island under even more pressure.




“In addition to the physical destruction, Puerto Rico’s economy has ground to a near standstill,” Rossello wrote, adding that “very few businesses” are operating.

“Financial damages of this magnitude will subject Puerto Rico’s central government, its instrumentalities, and municipal governments to unsustainable cash shortfalls,” he said. “As a result, in addition to the immediate humanitarian crisis, Puerto Rico is on the brink of a massive liquidity crisis that will intensify in the immediate future.”

“We are grateful for the federal emergency assistance that has been provided so far,” Rosello wrote. “However, absent extraordinary measures to address the halt in economic activity in Puerto Rico, the humanitarian crisis will deepen, and the unmet basic needs of the American citizens of Puerto Rico will become even greater.”

The unprecedented island-wide devastation in Puerto Rico has led to independent damage assessments in the range of $95 billion — approximately 150 percent of Puerto Rico’s GNP,” he wrote.

Rossello asked Ryan, R-Wis., and McConnell, R-Ky., for an additional $4.6 billion to help the island.

The Trump administration has been widely criticized for a slow and then inadequate response since the U.S. territory was devastated on Sept. 20 by a Category 4 storm that left 95% of the island’s residents without electricity and nearly half without running water.

The storm’s official death toll rose to 45 on Tuesday, according to Gov. Rosselló.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 35.7 percent of the U.S. territory lacked access to drinking water, a 5.2% increase from Monday.

On Monday, CBS reporter David Begnaud shared photos of desperate island residents resorting to collecting water from a mountain stream.

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