#PuertoRico

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Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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#PuertoRico

DKii48gU8AAfkJd.jpg

That circle contains the US territory of Puerto Rico, at night. No lights. 3.4 million people without power who will not have power for 3-6 months.  A large dam about to collapse where they are trying to evacuate 70K people in the flood path, with no phones, cell phones and many of the roads blocked. All agriculture is destroyed, and will take perhaps a year to come back. People are without basics like medicine and food. 

Since they have 2 ports and the airport is again usable FEMA/the Army Corps of Engineers, relief agencies, etc are there but they cannot do as much as they'd like. They've brought water and some food and FEMA dropped off satellite phones for each towns' mayor on Friday. Triage has not even started yet on much of the island. 

This is a thread to follow the devastation and recovery in Puerto Rico after cat 5 Hurricane Maria scoured much of civilization off the island. 

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Wendy S. Delmater
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eyewitness report

Not surprisingly, the few eyewitness reports getting out are on social media. Here's one. 

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Wendy S. Delmater
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from Buzzfeed news today

sub-buzz-2333-1506208580-1.jpg?downsize=715:*&output-format=auto&output-quality=auto

As Hurricane Maria left the island shellshocked, without power, and with 95% of the island’s cellular sites out of service, Puerto Ricans have tried to steel themselves against the reality that food, water, gasoline and fuel for generators will be hard to come by. But it is the inability to reach family members on the island and the mainland that has left them in despair.

"This is Katrina," said Andres Lopez, a Democratic donor and lawyer, noting that the aftermath will be as devastating in terms of force and damage for the 3.5 million U.S. citizens on the island, as it was after the hurricane that roiled New Orleans in 2005. Lopez said that while he lives in San Juan's Miramar neighborhood, an area that hasn't completely lost cell service, the same can not be said for so many residents.

"Nobody could find their relatives — but more than food and water, what people craved the most was for that little rectangle to work," he said.

and

Mercader said that after the hurricane, the governor began coordinating with FEMA to assess the damage, which they describe as "total devastation," and created a plan to reestablish communications in the coming days, with improvements already being felt on Saturday, according to those on the island.

"You have to take into consideration that 85% of power lines are down," Mercader said, of the electrical grid, which will take months to restore. "This is a massive crisis that Puerto Rico is going through."

https://www.buzzfeed.com/adolfoflores/with-cell-service-down-puerto-ricans-work-to-connect-each?utm_term=.py0AnWdDw#.jnvmprwWD has the rest of the article.

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Yes, It's Very Bad in Peurto Rico

Even more astonishing than the destruction in PR is the fact that on Twitter the most pressing issue of the day is NFL players taking a knee.

You cannot make up anything this ridiculous.  3.5 million US citizens in dire circumstances and the most important thing to the majority seems to be whether or not US citizens have a right to express themselves with many deciding that they do not.

A few articles:

A storm has never destroyed a grid like Maria did

Facing Months in the Dark, Ordinary Life in Puerto Rico Is ‘Beyond Reach’

Hurricane Maria wiped away around 80% of Puerto Rico’s agricultural industry

Make no mistake...the US government is busy failing the citizens of Puerto Rico right now.

It's very bad.

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Puerto Rico's Guajataca Dam

Warnings-extended-for-Puerto-Ricos-Guajataca-Dam-in-danger-of-collapse.jpg

Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Warnings that Puerto Rico's Guajataca Dam could fail were extended into Monday afternoon, as few people evacuated the area.

Rains from Hurricane Maria have put the dam in danger of collapsing.

Warnings from the National Weather Service for the dam have been extended through 2 p.m. EST on Monday. If the dam gives way, it could bring for life-threatening flash-flooding downstream of the Rio Guajataca. Riverbanks and surrounding areas could become unstable and unsafe.

The NWS cautioned residents surrounding the dam to "stay away or be swept away," and to "stay away from evacuated areas until told by emergency officials it is safe to return."

Nearly 70,000 people could be in danger if the dam failed, however, only 200 had actually evacuated according to authorities.

Read more 

Also about PR

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/hot-isolated-and-running-out-of-supplies-parts-of-puerto-rico-near-desperation

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/puerto-rica-hurricane-irma-maria_us

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redinr08
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Spillway damaged; dam did not fail

This is a good report on the PR dam, from Juan Browne who reported on the Oroville CA dam:

.be 

Hopefully the link is accurate.  It was from his fb page.

 

 

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Wendy S. Delmater
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Photos: an Island-Wide Tornado
 
 
Five days after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, its devastating impact is becoming clearer. Most of the U.S. territory currently has no electricity or running water, fewer than 250 of the island’s 1,600 cellphone towers are operational, and damaged ports, roads, and airports are slowing the arrival and transport of aid. Communication has been severely limited and some remote towns are only now being contacted. Jenniffer Gonzalez, the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, told the Associated Press that Hurricane Maria has set the island back decades.
Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Progress om restoring the PR grid

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cmartenson
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I'd be faring poorly...

I don’t sleep well at all in the heat.  A fan is a necessity for me.  As we learned from the webinar with Wolf and Kresser, sleep is the cornerstone of all health.

I cannot imagine what it’s going to be like for the people of Puerto Rico who may be without power for 6 months or more…on top of the obvious sanitation issues that will be additional stressors on their health.

This is a full-blown crisis.

‘This Is Chaos’: Sweltering Puerto Rico on Day 6 Without Power

Sept 25, 2017

A nursing home in San Juan made desperate pleas for diesel as its power generator ran low. An elderly man was carried out on a stretcher after going a week without dialysis.

Children wearing nothing but diapers camped out on balconies to stay cool. Hurricane Maria, which smashed into the island six days ago and devastated its power grid, couldn’t have come at a worse time. 

This is Puerto Rico’s hottest season of the year -- and virtually no one has air conditioning. Crews have descended upon the island to begin the arduous task of resurrecting what was already an aging and long-neglected electricity system. But that’ll take weeks, if not months -- meaning more sleepless nights for those like Juan Bautista Gonzalez.

“It’s brutal,” said Gonzalez, a 36-year-old carpenter who was sitting on a stoop in Old San Juan, rubbing his forehead in frustration. “No one can sleep. I spend all night tossing and turning. This is chaos.”

The destruction that Maria exacted upon Puerto Rico’s fragile grid when it slammed ashore as a Category 4 storm is unprecedented -- not just for the island but for all of the U.S. More than half of the territory’s towers may be down, at least 90 percent of its distribution lines damaged or destroyed and almost all overhead transmission lines affected, according to the American Public Power Association and Energy Department. All told, Maria could result in $40 billion to $85 billion in insured losses across the Caribbean.

In the 32 years that National Guard brigadier general Wendul G. Hagler II has served, he said, “It’s about as large a scale damage as I have ever seen.” Just before Maria hit, Hagler visited the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the majority of homes and businesses also remain without power and face a slow recovery.

For an indication of how long it’ll take for Puerto Rico to rebuild the system, Governor Ricardo Rossello points to Hurricane Hugo, a powerful storm that ravaged the region in 1989. Some had electricity within two months of Hugo. Others spent six months waiting. “It’s a gradual thing," Rossello told reporters on Sunday. “You have to be careful not to alarm people.”

As with Katrina and New Orleans, the prediction here is easy to make for PR's future.  They will never quite make it back to where they were before the destruction.

Welcome to catabolic collapse.  

Recovering takes energy.  This is everyone's future, so pay attention.  There are lessons to be learned here.

In the meantime, my deepest sympathies for those tossing and turning all night as they sweat.  I'd consider coating myself in Vaseline and sleeping in the ocean, I'd be so desperate after just 2 or 3 days.

 

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Michael_Rudmin
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Don't we have a PP member who was focused on PR?

It seems to me that back a year ago, there was a PP member who was trying to start up an intentional community in PR.  Where is he?

For the disaster, my thought is:  get the people out.  Let them disperse.  If the mismanagement of the government has been bad enough, it really isn't their fault.  But once the people are out, then drain the dam.  Then they're not going to be able to rebuild it until all that debt is dealt with, possibly. 

I can't understand the idea of "let the leaders out to bigger and better things; lock the people in; and then proclaim humanitarian disaster till others cough up the dough."    

 

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DOD on Guajataca Dam

The Corps of Engineers "found it intact but in need of reinforcement to ensure stability"and prevent collapse.

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Tough love for P.R.?

https://www.theburningplatform.com/2017/09/27/puerto-rico-the-quandry/#more-160040

How does Congress “prevent a deepening disaster”?

It cannot.  You cannot change the laws of physics nor magically make things that are broken become not-broken.  There is no issue with funding in the current paradigm; the problems are logistical.

Those issues arose because of decades of intentional mismanagement, grift and fraud including by the Governor himself and the rest of the Puerto Rican government, which has taken on debt over and over while squandering it on social programs instead of taking care of critical infrastructure needs — like basic maintenance to the electrical grid.

 

Hurricanes are natural disasters.  The storm that hit Puerto Rico was not a “global-warming enhanced” event, or anything that was the fault of anyone in DC, the mainland, or elsewhere.  It was a natural event that occurs from time to time.  Puerto Rico, like most other places, hasn’t been hit “in the face” in a long time.  This doesn’t change the fact that it is always a risk in such a place, that prudence demands that reservesmust be maintained as part of ordinary practice and infrastructure hardening implemented, so that when such disasters occur their impact is blunted.

The island’s government refused to do that. Wall Street banks and “investors” didn’t care that the island government refused to do that, and bought the debt anyway, smug in the belief that the US taxpayer would bail them out if something bad happened.

Well, something bad happened.

We must not bail any of them out.

Yes, we must help Puerto Rico to the extent we can, and we are.  However, those who lent the island money must remain fully exposed to the risk of loss; that’s why they got the coupon they negotiated for, it’s why there’s an interest payment on borrowed money and especially over the last few years it’s why their debt had traded at a high discount — the risk of non-payment.

Now that risk must become realized.

No bailouts for the Wall Street — and main street — folks who bought that garbage paper on the back of a natural disaster.  Uh uh.  There has to be a price for this sort of stupidity, and that’s the price, for it is the only check and balance on them doing it again.

The lesson here is that if your government is squandering basic infrastructure maintenance and repairs so as to hand out cash to various people and favored groups, pretending the bill will never come due, yes it will, yes it does, and yes you will get hosed when it does.

In addition people should carefully consider the realistic carrying capacity of a given landmass in a given state of infrastructure development and maintenance.  Those who live in Puerto Rico currently did not, and sadly they are paying for that decision now.

We cannot perform magic in this instance.  It will take months to rebuild the infrastructure on the island if not years.  It will take money too, but what we must not allow is for the banksters and politicians who made bad bets and engaged in fraudulent and outrageous conduct to be bailed out by the rest of America.  No, no and no.  Those who made those bad bets must eat them and Puerto Rico, while it should and will receive assistance, must operate on a fiscally sound basis.

We have to start somewhere if we're going to end the insanity.  This would be a start.  I doubt this will be where we start.  A bailout for Wall Street is coming, disguised as help for Puerto Rico.  It'll be just like Greece: that nation gets all kinds of aid money and 90% of it goes to pay off their loans made by giant banks and other nations.  Greece suffers.  The investors are  made whole.

"Welcome to the Hunger Games. And may the odds be ever in your favor."

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Puerto Rico's not coming back
Puerto Rico's not coming back (Statistical Ideas)
 
The Puerto Rico we once knew was dwindling into an unstable situation well before Hurricane Maria.
 
The Americans trapped on this island territory have zero hope to see a recovery to any form of prior glory.  The storm dealt a fatal blow on what was previously an uncertain end-game of long standing debt restructuring.  
 
The population had been quickly disappearing, cumulatively ~10% less than since the start of the global financial crisis of 2008.  The best and most noble talent have gone.  The island has been in an economic depression since, and all this while the world around them has been impressively growing and innovating for many years.  The local government had never been able to operate efficiently, without the United States subsidies that had allowed it to thrive for decades, decades where most Americans generally never thought about the well-being of ordinary Puerto Ricans (the majority have wanted to be our 51st state).  Now their weakened infrastructure and economy in ruin, and we are left with no state to recover to.  Multiple residents might consider coming to the U.S. mainland, similar to the women and children frantically fleeing the Titanic.  Of course starting anew on the mainland is daunting for many but will undoubtedly be no worse.  And for the fellow Americans we can rescue from there, their future opportunities and potential would be greatly enhanced...
 
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Wendy S. Delmater
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News about PR off Twitter

 

 

 

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Conditions in Puerto Rico

If accurate, the conditions in Puerto Rico reported in this article are pretty disturbing.  http://www.silverdoctors.com/headlines/world-news/puerto-rico-prepping-can-help-for-when-tshtf-to-teotwawki/

Puerto Rico: What It’s Really Like After the SHTF

Things are dire in Puerto Rico. We haven’t heard much directly from people there since Hurricane Maria took out power for the entire island, but what we do know is that the situation is desperate. This is a shocking, real-life glimpse into what it’s really like when the S hits the fan.

 

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CORRUPTION IS WHY WE WIN!

Aloha! Take a listen to a San Juan police officer calling into a Puerto Rican talk show in NYC. Go HERE to listen to her description of the corruption that she says has directly caused the death of many citizens.

As a side note back in 2009 I dumped an annuity held at Merrill Lynch that Lincoln Financial, manager of the annuity, had invested in Puerto Rico bank bonds. Even that far back it was no secret that Puerto Rico was a Wall Street haven for corruption.

CORRUPTION IS WHY WE WIN!

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Wendy S. Delmater
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Eyewitness

Inept Puerto Rican Government "Riddled with Corruption": CEO

...I have 50 engineers that I have sent out pro bono to help local companies get back on their feet. This includes getting people gasoline and cash, and helping them connect to others that can assist with repairs without delays.

I won’t allow my people to work with the local government.

I have a message for the U.S. Congress: Watch out what relief funds you approve and let our local government handle. Don’t let the Puerto Rican government play the victim and fool you. They have no clue what they are doing, and I worry that they will mishandle anything that comes their way.

They don’t need another aircraft carrier. They need experienced people to run a proper disaster command center.

read the rest here

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thc0655
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More on corruption in PR

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/10/17/disturbing-video-u-s-aid-to-puerto-rico-thrown-in-dumpsters/

There has been a great deal of political consternation and talking points about U.S. aid, or the lack thereof, delivered to Puerto Rico.  Indeed, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto has been a favorite of Democrats and liberal U.S. media as a spokesperson for claims the U.S. has not done enough for the island’s people.

However, a disturbing video shows Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State showing boxes and boxes of food, water and supplies being discarded by Puerto Rican officials in dumpsters, obviously not reaching the intended residents.

The FBI had previously opened an investigation into the level of fraud and corruption within Puerto Rico’s municipal authorities and reports of widespread theft of U.S. aid by officials of the local governments. This report on FEMA aid being corrupted by these same officials does not come as a surprise; indeed, unfortunately, it is the norm – not the exception.

(Puerto Rico) FBI agents in Puerto Rico have been receiving calls from “across the island” with residents complaining local officials are “withholding” or “mishandling” critical FEMA supplies — with one island official even accused of stuffing his own car full of goods meant for the suffering populace.

The accusations come in the aftermath of deadly Hurricane Maria, which devastated the U.S. territory last month.

“The complaints we’re hearing is that mayors of local municipalities, or people associated with their offices, are giving their political supporters special treatment, goods they’re not giving to other people who need them,” FBI Special Agent Carlos Osorio told Fox News.

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thc0655
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Crime in PR is not the same as crime in Chicago or Baltimore

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/weather/hurricane/article179863816.html

Most of the time, we in the US can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that most crime is in "bad neighborhoods" and primarily involves thugs shooting thugs.  The average citizen who avoids those "bad neighborhoods" and personal involvement in high risk activities (eg. illegal activities, public intoxication, use of illegal drugs) can be pretty sure they have a very low probability of becoming the victim of a violent crime, home burglary, etc.  

But Puerto Rico has experienced a one-two punch that is causing it's crime to spill over into "good neighborhoods" and into the lives of "normal" people who in the past didn't have to pay it much attention.  The combination of PR's economic decline which was further advanced than in most places in the US and Hurricane Maria has provided enough destruction to cause crime to go mainstream.  And it looks like it's going to stay that way for a while.  The police are clearly overwhelmed.  Citizens are in many ways "on their own."

It would be wise for each of us to be at least mentally prepared for future conditions where we live to get so bad that crime would become a daily concern for us as opposed to something that happens to people we don't know in neighborhoods we avoid.

Hurricane Maria ripped apart daily life in Puerto Rico but it hasn’t brought a halt to the crime that has long plagued the poverty-stricken island.

In the hard-scrabble neighborhood of Rio Piedras, Jessica Rojas was at work this week making sandwiches at a Subway restaurant — a cash-only operation because of the limited power supply — when two young gunmen dressed in black burst through the door demanding money.

Esto es un asalto,” one yelled. “This is a robbery!”

Rojas alerted an off-duty cop working security in a back room. A gunfight erupted. Rojas cowered on the ground as one gunman was gravely wounded and the other escaped. Also wounded in the crossfire: a local prosecutor and his wife who happened to be dining inside.

“Things here are hot,” said Rojas, 42, a former Hollywood resident. “It’s not easy living without water and electricity, and it’s giving a lot of people [opportunity] to rob us. It’s getting worse. We need more police...”

More than a month after Hurricane Maria wrecked the island, Puerto Rico’s overwhelmed police force of 13,000 officers is struggling to contain crime, just as before — but now with longer shifts, against emboldened criminals and on streets cloaked in darkness.

“It’s easier to burglarize — there’s no alarms, no phone systems. It’s dark. The delinquents are taking advantage of the crisis that Puerto Rico is in,” said Puerto Rico Police Officer Heriberto Soto, during a night patrol Tuesday that included calls for a robbery shooting, homeless men torching the outsides of stolen cables to steal the copper inside and and a high-speed car chase of suspected gunmen.

And the future for law enforcement on the island is bleak. The department has lost about 4,000 officers in the past five years and, because of the island’s economic crisis, cannot count on fresh recruits anytime soon. Hundreds of U.S. Army soldiers, outside law-enforcement officers and private security guards are helping — temporarily — but robberies, murders and drug dealing have resumed at levels that would seem outrageous in mainland states but are tragically normal here...

An island of 3.4 million people, Puerto Rico recorded 670 homicides last year, a marked increase from 2015, although still down from the peak of 1,164 in 2011. By contrast, Miami-Dade County, with a population of 2.6 million people, had 235 homicides in 2016.

And many more people are victims of assaults, muggings and burglaries. In the past week, Puerto Rican police have reported a series of car break-ins — including one in the parking lot of the convention center where government officials and journalists are stationed — along with the theft of dozens of gallons of fuel for a generator from a San Juan supermarket, and the shooting of four women at an intersection in the middle of the afternoon.

On Tuesday night, in a residential neighborhood in Río Piedras, a man was shot in the leg after he said a car full of robbers confronted him. The remote-control gate was open because of the lack of electricity. They made off with nothing — but one assailant lost his red Nike sneaker on the pavement.

“It happens daily — and now, even more,” said Soto, as he and partner José Baerga drove to the scene.

It was a typically muggy night in Río Piedras, a sprawling section of San Juan. For Soto and Baerga, the aftermath of the hurricane has only added challenges to an already tough job. Río Piedras used to have more than 60 officers on a shift. These days, even as the cops work 12-hour emergency shifts, the number of patrol officers on duty is typically 25 or so. Squad cars are old and lack laptops and dash-cams used by many patrol officers on the mainland...

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