ship prior to departing for Hurricane Relief Efforts FL headed to Puerto Rico. Image via SUNY Maritime College
(Reuters) – Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory of 3.4 million people, struggled through a tenth day with virtually no electricity, patchy communications and shortages of fuel, clean water and other essentials in the wake of Hurricane Maria, the most powerful storm to hit the island in nearly 90 years.
The storm struck on Sept. 20 with lethal, roof-ripping force and torrential rains that caused widespread flooding and heavily damaged homes, roads and other infrastructure.
These are the resources deployed by the United States to Puerto Rico as of Friday:
– There are about 4,500 U.S. troops on the ground in Puerto Rico, including active duty and national guard. An additional 1,400 National Guard members are expected to arrive in Puerto Rico in four days.
– Forty-three FEMA officials, teams of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and more than 1,600 National Guard members had sheltered in place during the storm.
– The U.S. military has the USS Kearsarge and Oak Hill, amphibious assault ships, assisting in relief efforts. The USS Wasp, which has completed relief efforts off the coast of Dominica, will soon be joining them.
– The USNS Comfort, a hospital ship, is en route to Puerto Rico. The Comfort is equipped to carry up to 1,000 hospital beds, 12 operating room and one of America’s largest trauma units.
– Fifty-two tilt/rotary-wing aircraft are taking part in efforts, according to the Pentagon.
– A Defense Logistics Agency shipment of 100 trucks with diesel and fuel will arrive in next few days.
– The Defense Logistics Agency is preparing to distribute potentially 160 million meals in 30 days.
– By Friday, 15,000 gallons of propane were expected to arrive in Puerto Rico.
– On Thursday, a C-5C aircraft landed with a generator to help radar approach operations, the Pentagon said.
POWER AND WATER
– There are 4,000 people working to restore electricity and private U.S. companies will be bringing in 1,000 additional workers this weekend, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) said.
– About 50 percent of people on the island had access to water on Friday, according to PREPA.
– The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed a damage assessment at the Guajataca dam and are consulting on repairs. A flash flood watch is posted this weekend with 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.5 cm) of rain possible.
– The Pentagon said that eight airports are open, while one airport is still closed.
– Five of the six FEMA-priority sea ports are open or open with some restrictions, according the U.S. military.
– According to the Pentagon release, citing a federal coordinating officer, 400 out of 676 gas stations are open.
– About 90 percent of cell phone sites on island remain out of commission, according to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
– According to a Pentagon update, which cites FEMA, one hospital was fully operational, 55 were partially open and five were closed. The status of eight hospitals was unknown.
Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker
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