Still no communication with several Puerto Rico mayors
SAN JUAN — Three days after the passage of Hurricane María, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló had yet to hear from mayors in 18 towns on the island.
On Saturday, the governor met with 47 mayors and representatives of four other towns to discuss damages caused by the storm, which affected the whole island as a major category 4 hurricane Wednesday. Puerto Rico remains in the dark and with almost no communications, as a result of severe damages to the island’s power and communications infrastructure.
The conclave took place at the Convention Center, in the Miramar neighborhood of San Juan. The building serves as the government’s main command center during the emergency of Hurricane Maria.
About 27 municipalities were absent from the meeting. Gov. Rosselló justified their absence due to the number of roads still obstructed across the island due to landslides and fallen trees.
Nevertheless, the government confirmed that there has been no communication with 18 town mayors, as of Saturday evening.
The list comprises Aguadilla, Aibonito, Hormigueros, Isabela, Jayuya, Lajas, Luquillo, Mayagüez, Peñuelas, Quebradillas, Rincón, Sabana Grande, San Germán, San Lorenzo, Trujillo Alto, Vieques, Villalba and Yauco.
Gov. Rosselló said that he discussed with the mayors the possibility of developing a map of accessible roads throughout the island, as the government still seeks to assess the situation.
The governor further stressed that communication with the absent mayors will be a priority for the government, which will now direct efforts at reaching out to these municipalities to receive more information on damages sustained.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), moreover, will provide 250 satellite telephones so that municipalities can communicate with state and federal agencies during the emergency. The devices would arrive within the next two to three days.
Whoever violates the curfew will be arrested
Gov. Rosselló reiterated the importance of residents complying with the curfew order, and urged them to stay in their homes between 7:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. until the emergency ends.
He stressed that those who violate the order, “are going to be arrested.”
“There is no good reason to be outside [during curfew hours] unless it is an emergency,” Gov. Rosselló added, noting that law enforcement agencies will make sure violators are prosecuted. Those who fail to comply with the curfew expose themselves to six months in jail.
To reinforce security, the governor decided to authorize “peace officers”, or state and federal officials that will be empowered to support public safety agencies in enforcing the measure.