NARANJITO, Puerto Rico — Twenty miles from their capital of San Juan, Puerto Ricans still are marooned in a once-lush landscape that Hurricane Maria raked almost entirely of greenery 10 days ago.They are without running water, electricity or consistent communications with the rest of the world.
Obtaining necessities such as water, food and fuel for cars and generators is a daylong mission for each item. But across the Plata River from a long line of cars and people waiting for drinkable water from a tower, a smaller line formed near a PVC pipe trickling water from a hillside spring.
“When it rains, we don’t come,” Ramos said as she watched people fill coolers, pales and bottles to put in their cars. “We gather water from the downspouts and wash clothes by hand.”
Michelle Rebollo, Ramos’ mother, said gathering this water was today’s task.
“Tomorrow we’re going to try to find gasoline,” Rebollo said in perfect English. “Then, we’ll try to get money. Each one is a whole day.”
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said Saturday that 714 gas stations, more than half the stations in Puerto Rico, are operating and receiving fuel. But many of the stations lining the roads near Naranjito were closed or confronted travelers with a sign: “No hay gasolina,” no gasoline.
Puerto Rico will receive more fuel in coming days with eight deliveries from Sunday to the next Saturday, Rosselló said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Puerto Rican National Guard are working to deliver food and water to hard-to-access places, set up telecommunications in municipal centers and deliver needed supplies to hospitals, the governor said.
“Today we have 51 to 53 of 69 hospitals open, depending on how you measure it,” he said. “Nine of those hospitals are energized,” meaning they have a normal electric power supply and do not depend on an emergency generator.
The death toll from Maria has reached 16 so far and is likely to rise, the governor said.
Some of the proceeds will go towards helping the people in Puerto Rico