October 19, 2017

VIDEO: Breadlines in the US? Puerto Ricans queue up as situation worsens

Hurricane Irma
Image by NASA

Six are dead and most without cell service or running water in Puerto Rico more than two days after Hurricane Maria plowed into the U.S. territory of more than 3 million American citizens. Nobody has electricity as power is out on the entire island . Authorities say it will be months before its restored. 70,000 people are in the potential path of the rush from a dam that authorities warn is about to fail .

With entire towns submerged under water, people are literally living hand-to-mouth. Here’s the AP:

In San Juan, Neida Febus wandered around her neighborhood with bowls of cooked rice, ground meat and avocado, offering food to the hungry. The damage was so extensive, the 64-year-old retiree said, that she didn’t think the power would be turned back on until Christmas.

The Miami Herald‘s Patricia Mazzei spoke to Rachel Maddow Friday on The Rachel Maddow Show, saying that Puerto Ricans are hopeful, but fear they’ll run out of food. The residents of Loiza waited in line for bread for 90 minutes:

Here’s her response to Maddow’s question, “What are people able to get in terms of help? What are you seeing in terms of the official response and relief efforts, either organized just by civilians or by the government?”

Right now we are only seeing in these towns neighbors helping neighbors…but inland the residents told us they have seen no help. They have felt a little bit hopeful because they have seen helicopters fly over their town. Those might have been reporters taking photographs and videos, but they think that people know they are flooded, and they hope that help will arrive soon. But one grocery store in Loiza was open today, and the owner said he had ordered water two weeks ago before Hurricane Irma–he still hasn’t gotten it. He has bread every day at 7AM and there’s a line out the door, and people stand for 90 minutes in line for bread.

This is her report on the same thing from the Herald:

Friday morning, locals lined up for more than an hour to buy fresh bread at the only open grocery store. It quickly ran out. A nearby stand made brisk sales of fruit and vegetables that survived the storm: plantains, yuca, limes, malanga, ñame.

“No supplies. No communications. We ordered water two weeks ago, before Hurricane Irma. It never got here,” owner Amaury De Jesús said, adding he was able to get back in business after buying 55 gallons of gas Thursday to fuel his generator. “No banks are open. We can’t take credit. It’s a risk. But people have been good.”

FEMA needs to get there soon. President Donald Trump plans to visit the territory this month, according to a tweet from Puerto Rico’s governor:

About Jonathan Rose 27 Articles
Jonathan Rose studies journalism in Denver. He sometimes writes as Alibi Pierce.
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