Weeks later, 90% of Puerto Ricans still without power
October 08 2017 12:56 AM
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A woman gestures towards a government official as he walks past them in Lares, Puerto Rico while on a trip to assess damage to the area from Hurricane Maria.

DPA/Washington

About 90% of Puerto Rico was still without power on Friday, more than two weeks after Hurricane Maria raked across the island, according to the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The hobbled power grid on the US territory has meant many businesses, hospitals and public facilities are resorting to generators, including 27 installed by FEMA personnel, to create electricity for their operations.
About 40% of the island has access to wired or wireless communication services, and about half the 3.4mn residents have drinking water, FEMA said.
The agency said it has about 800 personnel on the ground in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands working on hurricane recovery operations.
The US territories were among the Caribbean islands badly affected by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
The agency provided the update on recovery efforts as Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello announced that the number of deaths caused by the hurricane had risen by two to 36 and as US Vice-President Mike Pence headed to Puerto Rico and the island of St Croix in the US Virgin Islands to assess hurricane damage.
Pence met Governor Kenneth Mapp of the US Virgin Islands after arriving at St Croix.
He was to visit churches and take a tour of the Virgin Islands by helicopter.
Pence also met Lieutenant General Buchanan, who is heading the US recovery efforts.
The briefing was mostly behind closed doors.
They spoke to reporters seated at a table with about a dozen other officials.
In Puerto Rico the vice-president spoke individually to several people, including at least one who told him he was angry with the response.
Asked about that interaction, Pence said: “The devastation here in Puerto Rico has been historic. We understand the frustration when you think of the magnitude of the loss, the impact on the families, the loss of life.”
He said his message was the same one President Donald Trump delivered earlier this week, which is the US is “here for the long haul”.
The Department of Defence said on Friday that more than 11,000 department personnel are working to restore resources to Puerto Rico.
The FEMA and military personnel are part of 15,000 US federal employees on the island to work on the recovery effort.



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