Puerto Rico power authority restoring service to ‘priority areas’
SAN JUAN – After Hurricane María ravaged Puerto Rico five days ago, the Electric Power Authority (Prepa) was finally able to provide service Monday to the Río Piedras Medical Center and Hato Rey’s Police headquarters, the secretary of Public Affairs and Public Policy, Ramón Rosario, said.
The San Pablo Hospital in Bayamón is another site that has power service after the hurricane, which caused the collapse of the energy system on the island. Some areas surrounding the above-mentioned sites have also benefitted from their reconnection. Such is the case of the Plaza Las Américas shopping center in Hato Rey.
The priority of the electric utility is to provide service to the Mayagüez Medical Center, to where a mobile unit was sent Sunday. The island’s western region is where there are most if the communication problems after the worst storm to hit the island in 80 years.
Some 40% water utility customers have service
Regarding the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (Prasa), Rosario said 40% of customers, or nearly half a million, have water service.
The Barceloneta, Dorado, Vega Baja, Arecibo and Manatí area, however, some 30,000 customers will have service every other day to be able to provide it to more people.
More supplies to arrive: airports and ports
With Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport trying to return to normal operations, and several seaports in operation, the Public Affairs secretary estimated that the flow of supplies to the island will continue without disruption while residents cram supermarkets and gas stations for food and gas.
“Four planes with federal aid arrive today with about 246,000 meals. They have cots, awnings and other federal aid. And help of this quantity will arrive daily to Puerto Rico. That is, we will get four or five airplanes every day with this amount of help,” Rosario said.
The official said Muñoz Marín Airport is “fully open for passenger, cargo and military flights,” with restrictions, and help from Panama was arriving Monday. Isla Grande airport “is receiving everything” and “international aid.”
The Ponce and Aguadilla airports were operating for commercial and military cargo 24 hours a day, while Ceiba was only receiving military flights. “The other airports are closed.”
Meanwhile, the port of San Juan is open and will now receive eight vessels with provisions “additional to those received [Sunday].” The ports of Peñuelas, Aguadilla and Aguirre “are open without restrictions.” The piers of Guayama, Fajardo, Vieques and Culebra will open only during the day, including for passenger boats to the island-municipalities.
“[In the port of] Yabucoa, the shipment of the merchandise it had has begun and the piers of Arecibo and Mayagüez are still closed,” Rosario added at a press conference at the Convention Center in Miramar.
The local Education Department established plans to provide food for 182 shelters for the next few days.
Roads with access problems
Finally, the secretary of Public Affairs said Transportation & Public Works Department (DTOP by its Spanish acronym) brigades continue to clear roadways. The following roads still have access problems:
- PR-52 is partially closed from San Juan to Ponce from kilometer (km) 88.4 to 95; only one of its shoulders is open.
- PR-60, in km 1.6, from Fajardo to Caguas is closed both directions.
- PR-52, km 27.9, closed from San Juan to Ponce (a detour route will be available Monday).
- PR-3 from Fajardo to Río Grande, from km 30.7 to 31.1, and from 38.8 to 44.7.
- PR-26 Baldorioty expressway, at km 4.1, is partially flooded.
- PR-2, at km 200, flooding; km 22.6 in Toa Baja.
- PR-111 in Utuado, a landslide makes it impassable at km 54.4 (there is detour on
- PR-603 and 6103).
- PR-10’s km 41.9 in Utuado is closed.
- PR-59’s km 1 in Juana Díaz is closed.
- PR-108’s km 12.6 in Mayagüez is impassable; a detour is available on PR-406 and 4430.
- Toa Alta’s Virgencita bridge and Punta Salinas’ bridge on 165 have problems.