Puerto Rico towns plead for power, water services to be restored
SAN JUAN – The mayors of Las Piedras and Comerío, Miguel “Mickey” López and Josian Santiago, respectively, denounced that since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico nearly two months ago, their municipalities are still without water, electricity and telecommunications services, which keeps their constituents in a state of despair.
The mayor of Las Piedras explained in a WKAQ radio interview that about 50% of the residents of his town have been without water service since Hurricane Irma hit the island Sept. 6, two weeks before Hurricane María.
“With the passing of María, that [situation] has gotten even worse,” López said. For at least 34 days, he added, the municipality has been “at zero” with water service.
Faced with this predicament, the municipal executive requested an explanation from the Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority (Prasa) and asked for help at the Emergency Operations Center (COE by its Spanish initials) since the emergency began.
Government representatives explained to him that the request was received, but they were waiting for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to allocate the funds and the seven electric generators that were required.
“Prasa had requested the same [generators], but none have arrived,” López said, indicating that the initial date for the equipment’s arrival was Oct. 23.
A similar situation is occurring in Comerío, which is also located in the island’s mountainous inland.
As in Las Piedras, Santiago explained that problems with telecommunications have kept Comerío without functioning ATMs, as well as its water and electricity problem.
All evidence indicates that several mountain towns are experiencing the same situation.
The mayor of Las Piedras is from the ruling New Progressive Party, while the mayor of Comerío belongs to the opposition Popular Democratic Party.