WASHINGTON — A communication breakdown over the delivery of hurricane relief left shipping containers with the needed supplies sitting at the Port of San Juan for days after Hurricane Maria thrashed Puerto Rico last week.
Millions of individuals on the U.S. territory are in desperate need of food, water and medical items, and many stores have yet to restock their shelves since before Hurricane Irma, the system that hit Puerto Rico just days before Maria. So why did giant containers of relief from the mainland U.S. not get picked up by delivery trucks for distribution?
According to reports, roads are blocked because of debris, downed trees, downed power lines, all of which are preventing many drivers from delivering necessary items. Additionally, fuel availability is lacking along with electricity. National Public Radio reports that just one shipping company has 3,400 containers ready to leave the port. A total of 10,000 are reportedly stranded.
According to El Nuevo Dia’s Sara Del Valle, truckers on the island were ready to go, but were given a phone number to call that did not work. (Full disclosure: Del Valle is this reporter’s cousin).
“There are two major problems. The communications systems are down and there is a scarcity of gas and diesel. There are truck drivers. They are being told to call a particular number but that number is not working,” Del Valle told The Daily Caller Friday. “The towns furthest from San Juan, and that includes the islands of Vieques and Culebra, are having problems because they have not had any help by the (Puerto Rican) government.”
Del Valle notes that although the Puerto Rican government says that gas and diesel are available people still must wait at least nine hours in line at gas stations to potentially get any fuel. Additionally, a number of hospitals and businesses as a result of the circumstances have been closed.