Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans are struggling to find fresh water in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island last week, The Hill reports.
Over 40 percent of the island’s 3.5 million residents do not have access to clean drinking water. Critical systems across Puerto Rico remain unworkable, with 80 percent of the energy grid and 100 percent of the distribution system damaged.
“Puerto Rico, within the span of two weeks, received two Category 4, Category 5 hurricanes,” Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told The New York Times Tuesday. “That has never happened anywhere. The devastation has been enormous.”
The strain on everyday necessities has forced victims to get creative, and take risks, in getting the things they need to survive. Lydia Rivera is rationing crackers and collecting rainwater to keep her grandchildren alive, CNN reports.
“No water, no food,” Rivera told CNN. “It’s nobody’s fault. It’s the weather. You have to go on.”
The federal response to the storm is ongoing with disaster relief rushing to relieve some of the island’s most immediate needs, despite the extensive damage to Puerto Rico’s infrastructure.
“[President Donald Trump] has been acting proactively,” Rosselló said Tuesday of the federal response to the disaster, according to TheNYT. “We still need more, and the president understands that and his team understands that.”
“The issue in responding on an island is that you can’t drive trucks in like you can on mainland U.S.,” FEMA Spokesman Will Booher told TheNYT.
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