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Puerto Rico and USVI Hurricane Response

The Department of Defense (DoD) reported today an increase in personnel deployed to Puerto Rico to assist in the hurricane relief efforts from 4,600 to 6,400.  It’s so ironic that roughly exactly a year ago the DoD was wrapping up relief efforts in Haiti where an estimated 1.4 million affected by Hurricane Matthew.  In that effort, 600,000 pounds of critical supplies including food, water, shelter material, cholera kits” and other medical necessities.

Right now, one of the key controversies engulfing the White House is the intensity of support for the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. in the wake of Hurricanes Maria, the most powerful hurricane to hit the area in 90 years.  Right now Puerto Rico is reported to still have 3.4 million people still without electrical power after 10 days.  It is great to know that the following resources have been reported to be working or on the way:

– 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.

– 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.

– Only 5 percent of the electricity grid had been restored by Saturday, FEMA officials said.

– About 50 percent of people on the island had access to water onFriday, according to FEMA.

– The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed a damage assessment at the Guajataca dam and repairs are scheduled to begin on Sunday and Monday.

– The dam’s spillway continues to erode following 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) of rain over the past day, with another 2 to 4 inches each day over the next two days expected, the military said, citing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

– The Pentagon said eight airports are open and one is still closed.

– Five of the six FEMA-priority sea ports are open or open with restrictions, according the U.S. military.

– A Pentagon release, citing FEMA, said 851 of 1100 retail gas stations had re-opened by Saturday morning.

– About 90 percent of cell phone sites on the island remain out of commission, according to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

– About 33 percent of the overall telecommunications network had been restored as of Saturday afternoon, FEMA said.

– According to a Pentagon update, which cites FEMA, 59 of the island’s 69 hospitals were fully or partially open and five were closed. Five other hospitals not yet assessed by the military do not provide emergency care.

Stats per Reuters SEPTEMBER 30, 2017 / 7:11 PM

These stats and efforts seem to be horribly timed as the anticipated landfall of the hurricane was predicted well ahead of time.  This is a public affairs nightmare.  With all the resources now being dispatched to Puerto Rico, you would have to ask, what did the initial damage assessments include?  24 hours after the hurricane passed over Puerto Rico and the USVI, how long was it before the first steps taken to put disaster relief efforts in motion from the National Guard, FEMA, U.S. Northern Command, etc.  Has the response been given a bad rap in social media and by mainstream news organizations, or has the governments response really been piss poor?

Posted by Vernon Logan


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