in storm-ravaged puerto rico, drinking water in short supply - safe plastic drinking bottles
San Juan, Puerto Rico (Reuters)-
A week after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, most of the three hit Puerto Rico.
4 million residents are scrambling to find clean water, and experts are concerned about the possible public health crisis caused by the damaged water system on the island.
On Tuesday, hundreds of people crowded around a government water tanker in the northeastern city of Canova, with containers of different sizes and shapes waiting for a few days.
"This is the first tank they brought here," said local carpenter Juan Cruz, who helped fill the boats when he was alone in a green color.
An official stood next to him.
"That's why people make such a commotion so they can survive. "The U. S.
The water crisis in the territory is related to the collapse of the power grid;
Electricity is required to pump, process and filter the water that appears in the household faucet.
Diesel because the grid is not working-
Power generators are needed to clean and move the water from where it is needed to go.
But there are not enough generators on the island to do the job, and there is very little fuel to run these generators, utility officials say.
Only about 40% to 45% of Puerto Rico's water and sewer authority's customers (PRASA)
The company's authorities said it had water as of Tuesday. Island-
Until electricity is restored throughout Puerto Rico, extensive water services may not be restored, which may take several months.
Meanwhile, officials are racing to transport bottled water and tankers on the island, where despair is growing.
Canovanas in the water line, monthly (32 kilometres)
In the southeast of the capital San Juan, bottles are poured into larger containers still filled with water in order to make the most of them on tankers.
Others immediately quench their thirst, dry the bottle and refill it.
A woman carries four empty barrels, about five gallons per barrel.
Some residents say they haven't had running water since Maria knocked off the island's electricity, telephones and businesses last Wednesday.
The fallen trees and wires blocked the road.
Many shops and supermarkets are still closed and there is little place for residents to buy water.
The island's largest city, San Juan, has uneven water supply services, while in places like Toa Baja, about 25 miles west, people fill buckets and plastic trash cans at water stations.
Carlos Cotto, a 43-year-old government driver, said he had brought 5-
Daily lift containers from his home in Caguas, replenish containers in San Juan, about 20 miles north, to help relatives now whose water levels have fallen.
"Just to keep supply stable. . .
So we have enough to survive, "he said outside a large convention center that has been used to accommodate those who need to avoid the storm.
Pollution in the United States is infiltrating. S.
The Federal Emergency Services Authority says it has provided more than 4 million meals and 6 million liters of water to Puerto Rico and the Hurricanehit U. S.
The Viking islands, on the way to the islands by barge, provide an additional 7 million meals and 4 million liters of water.
"The vast majority of people in Puerto Rico do not have a safe drinking water system," said Sven Rodenbeck, chief scientific officer of the United States. S.
Hurricane response from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
He said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that Puerto Ricans use as much bottled water as possible.
"Whenever the water system, whether Puerto Rico or anywhere, loses pressure, there is concern that bacterial contamination will be brought into the drinking water system.
"That's why when you lose pressure, you give 'boil water' notice," he said in a telephone interview . ".
Even before the hurricane, there was a problem with Puerto Rico's water supply system.
In fact, all the population of Puerto Rico drew tap water in 2015, in violation of the federal rules established by the natural resources protection commission under the Safe Drinking Water Act (NRDC)
Said in a study released earlier this year.
"Puerto Rico stands out for having the worst record in any territory or state in the United States. S.
In terms of drinking water pollution, "said Eric Olsen, director of health programs in Washington, D. C. C. -based NRDC.
Maria's situation will only get worse, and she has destroyed the sewage treatment plant, making the pipes that have been leaking on the island more vulnerable to pollution.
There was nothing coming out of the faucet, and people turned to wells and springs, which posed another risk to public health, Olsen said.
"This is a shallow groundwater that is very vulnerable to pollution from sewage and other sources," he said . ".
PRASA, a water supply company, also faces serious financial and regulatory problems.
Last year, it reached an agreement acknowledging the prosecution of 15 felony charges for violating the federal Clean Water Act by illegally discharging pollutants from nine sanitary sewage treatment plants and five drinking water treatment plants, america. S.
Authorities said on December.
PRASA stated on last March that it had suspended ongoing projects and was considering other alternatives to pay contractor fees.
A few days after the storm, ratings agency Fitch said the storm-
Related expenses may damage PRASA has-
Olson of NRDC said that liquidity is tight, pushing it closer to default, "you can get a lot of people sick quickly through the system you have in Puerto Rico . ".
However, since there is no water in the faucet and bottled water is difficult to buy, many Puerto Ricans do not have the luxury of worrying about bacteria or diseases.
In a neighborhood near San Juan, the rain that Angel negooni and his wife collected with buckets has become the main source of water for the couple to drink and cook.
Negroni, 72, said he estimated that they would not resume water or power supply in a few weeks.
Before that, he said he planned to cook with a small gas stove installed under the covered porch.
"I can make coffee," said Negroni . ".
"But soon, I need more bottled water. ” (
Dave Graham and Robin Respaut report in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Jon herbauitz, Austin, Texas;
Additional reports by Herbert virala in New York in Canana Venus, Puerto Rico and Stephanie Kelly)