Electric service in Puerto Rico to take 4 months to be restored after Maria
The death toll in Puerto Rico has risen to at least 10 people after the passing of Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit the island in 100 years. Millions of residents struggle to rebuild amid a major power outage and no access to telephone or running water.
Puerto Rico's Public Affairs secretary, Ramon Rosario, said Sunday that fully restoring electric service on the island after the devastating passage of Hurricane Maria will take approximately four months.
Eighty percent of the Electric Energy Authority's (AEE) distribution lines were downed by the storm and are unusable, and restoring them is a key task at present, he said.
He said that the main priority of both the government and the AEE will be to get electricity back to the hospitals, especially the San Juan Medical Center, as well as to dialysis centers.
Power has reportedly been restored to the HIMA San Pablo Hospital in Bayamon, near San Juan.
Rosario recalled that after Hurricane Hugo in September 1989 it also took four months to fully restore electric service, while after Hurricane Georges in September 1998, electricity was only restored on the island after six months.
Not only was electric service once again virtually decimated by Maria's passage last Wednesday, but potable water supplies and most other communications were cut off, given that 85 percent of the mobile telephone towers were knocked over by the storm's high winds, and now many Puerto Ricans have become quite anxious because they have been unable to communicate with their relatives on or off the island.
One of the priorities is to reestablish telecommunications, said Rosario, and measures are being taken to do so with all possible speed.