It was already $74 billion in debt.
After Puerto Rico was pummeled by Hurricane Maria last week, a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds, the island has been left in shambles. After suffering widespread power outages thanks to Hurricane Irma the week before, 1 million Puerto Ricans were left without electricity. 60,000 still hadnât gotten power when Maria brought a total, island-wide power outage, and severe shortages of food, water, and other supplies.
Thereâs stillno power on the island except for a handful of generators powering high-priority buildings like select hospitals, and the island likely wonât return to full power for another half a year. This also means that there are next to zero working cell phone towers and no reception anywhere on the island.
Due to the blackout, many residents are relying on small gas-fed generators, and fuel is running out (though authorities in Puerto Rico insist that itâs a distribution problem, not a shortage). Puerto Ricans are waiting in six-hour lines for fuel, while many stations have run completely dry. In most of Puerto Rico thereâs no water either â that means no showers, no flushable toilets, and no drinkable water thatâs not out of a bottle. In some of the remoter parts of the island, rescue workers are just barely beginning to arrive.
From the air, the devastation Hurricane Maria brought to Puerto Rico appears to be catastrophic.
Prior problems exacerbate the issue
Puerto Rico is experiencing all of the normal catastrophes brought on by a major hurricane â and then some. In Houston after Harvey and Florida after Irma, wastewater pumping systems failed, causing significant sewage spillage. The same is almost guaranteed to happen…