Puerto Rico Just Got Even More Bad News

Officials say the territory won't have power fully restored until May
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2017 5:19 PM CST
Power Won't Be Fully Returned to Puerto Rico Until May
In this Oct. 19, 2017 file photo, a brigade from the Electric Power Authority repairs distribution lines damaged by Hurricane Maria in the Cantera community of San Juan, Puerto Rico.   (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti, File)

Three months after Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico, more than a third of the island is still without power. Now officials—citing a "logistical nightmare"—say the territory's electricity won't be fully restored until May, BuzzFeed reports. That's five months after Gov. Ricardo Rosselló original goal to have power restored to 95% of Puerto Rico. "It will take significant time to restore power to the majority of people due to the challenges of terrain, the state of the grid system before the storms, and the extensive damage caused by the hurricanes," a US Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson says. The Army Corps of Engineers is dealing with damaged roads, a lack of power poles, and more.

  • Meanwhile, CNN reports Rosselló is calling for a re-examination of every death in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria—regardless of if the hurricane was listed as the official cause of death—in order to get a more accurate death toll. It's a tall order as it's possible most of the bodies have already been buried or cremated.
  • Rosselló is also calling on the 5.3 million Puerto Ricans living on the mainland to come out in force in 2018 following the passage of the Republican tax bill, which he says will hurt Puerto Rico, Newsweek reports. “We are a significant voting bloc in the United States that perhaps hasn’t been organized very well in the past,” Rosselló says. He's targeting districts in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, among others.
  • The House passed an $81 billion emergency aid package for Puerto Rico—as well as California, Texas, and Florida—on Thursday, Politico reports. But the package will have a harder time in the Senate, and it's unclear if aid will be delivered before the end of the year.
(Read more Puerto Rico stories.)

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