Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is in the midst of the worst electricity outage in U.S. history. Most of the island remains without power more than two months after Hurricane Maria hit the island.

Some Puerto Ricans are saying that the current crisis should be a wake-up call that the island needs to move to a less centralized power system — and that solar power might be part of the solution. In other words, they believe Puerto Rico should follow the lead of many developing nations where solar power production is expanding rapidly.

Displaced Puerto Ricans Face Obstacles Getting Health Care

Nov 21, 2017

The federal government has granted people affected by the devastating hurricanes that wracked coastal states and Puerto Rico 15 extra days to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

But Puerto Ricans who fled to the mainland after the destruction face problems well beyond timing.

Courtesy

Today on Sundial: Palm Beach County prepares for the arrival of the president this week. Sheriff Ric Bradshaw discusses with us the community's preparatory measures for the visit and what residents need to expect.

Trump arrives at the start of the holiday season and the eve of the largest shopping weekend of the year. The presidential visit will cause some traffic rearrangements and delays, as well as certain restrictions.

Sherriff Bradshaw will be in charge of overseeing the protection of the president, his family and staff.

Yerianne Roldán wants to be a graphic designer, or maybe a writer, or maybe both. Her good friend and classmate, Zuleyka Avila, has already made up her mind. She's going to be a pediatrician.

Those plans hit a bump in the road this fall, though, when Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, where both girls lived with their families. Forced to leave the island — much of which is still without power — they've both relocated to Orlando.

These days, Puerto Rico's monumental power restoration effort involves helicopters dropping 100-foot towers into the mountains and a "big dance" of crews, equipment and expertise from several agencies and companies. But progress has been slow and that dance has been a complicated and tedious one on the island, which is experiencing the largest outage in U.S. history.

And sometimes it's one light forward, two lights back.

Juan Luis Martinez / AP

Seven weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory is still struggling to restore power, water and other basic needs. Things only got more muddled on Friday with the sudden resignation of the island’s emergency management director.

It's a muggy early afternoon in Morovis, a mountain community about 40 miles from San Juan. Army Reserve soldiers led by Captain Angel Morales are hard at work handing out cases of water and ready-to-eat meals from a flatbed truck. Hundreds of people line up in the parking lot of the Jaime Collazo High School.

Tim Padgett / WLRN News

WLRN's Americas Editor Tim Padgett traveled to Puerto Rico one month after Hurricane Maria hit the island as a powerful category 4 storm, knocking down the electrical grid and destroying most of the infrastructure.

AP

WASHINGTON — The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says there was “a lot wrong” with a $300 million no-bid contract awarded to a tiny Montana company to aid Puerto Rico.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long tells Congress that FEMA officials only learned about the contract awarded to Whitefish Energy Holdings after it had been signed by the board of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.

The head of the troubled utility said Sunday he would seek to cancel the contract, amid scrutiny from multiple federal and congressional investigations.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

PATILLAS, Puerto Rico – Jan Carlo Pérez’s family has a farm in Patillas, Puerto Rico. It’s a town of lush green hillside forests known as the Caribbean island’s “emerald of the south.” But right now Patillas – close to where Hurricane Maria made landfall in September – is a struggling disaster casualty.

Man and woman standing together
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Saturday may have been rainy, but that didn’t stop a small private plane from getting eight very sick people out of Puerto Rico and into Ft. Lauderdale to receive the indispensable medical treatment they can't receive on the island at the moment. 

After Hurricane Maria devastated the island, South Florida resident and Puerto Rican native Debbie Sosa started making calls to help those she didn’t think could wait until mid-December, when the government in Puerto Rico estimates power will be restored. 

 

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, 18-year-old Ledishla Acevedo booked a flight to Miami in hopes of continuing her college education in Florida.

When she arrived at her cousin’s house here, she turned on the lights and started to cry.

Then she took a hot shower and cried some more.

Updated at 4:52 p.m. Eastern

On Sunday the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority cancelled the highly disputed $300 million contract awarded to Whitefish Energy, a tiny American company tasked with restoring power to the still storm-ravaged island. PREPA spokesperson Carlos Monroig confirmed the news to NPR.

The announcement came hours after Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló demanded the contract's cancellation, amid ongoing local and federal audits.

https://www.national-park.com/welcome-to-biscayne-national-park/

Today in Sundial: Puerto Ricans living on the island may be without power for months. Some parts of the island could be living without basic services for more than a year. WLRN's Tim Padgett was there recently, and he says the best way to describe what's happening in Puerto Rico is basic paralysis. 

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

COMMENTARY

Driving through Puerto Rico last week, my attention was often focused on the hurricane destruction all around me. And that was really stupid – because if you’re not entirely focused on the road in Puerto Rico, you’ll hit one of the island’s countless, craterous and calamitous potholes.

Pages