Puerto Rico: No Power, No Phones, And "Unprecedented" Damage

Tyler Durden's picture

Hurricane Maria has moved on from Puerto Rico and was passing the Turks and Caicos Islands Friday morning as a Category 3 storm. But the devastation it caused will disrupt life on the island for the next six months, possibly longer, as the cash-strapped US territory struggles to rebuild its power grid and other crucial infrastructure that was completely destroyed by the storm, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

More than 95% of Puerto Rico’s wireless cell sites are currently out of service, according to the FCC. That is worse than the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which knocked out 56% of the island’s wireless network. Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said restoring electricity to the island “could take weeks or many, many months.”

But the damage goes beyond cell towers. The most powerful hurricane to hit the US territory in almost a century hobbled the island's telecommunications system, destroyed its power grid and left communities facing widespread devastation. Puerto Rican authorities have warned the island’s 3.4 million residents that the island faces a difficult and expensive path to recovery from Maria. As the territory rushes to provide initial relief to its struggling citizens, Abner Gómez, executive director of the island’s emergency-management agency, said residents should be prepared to sustain themselves without aid for 72 hours, given the severity of the damage, the obstacles to reach people and how thinly stretched government resources are.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the agency is working with telecom providers to help get the communications networks back online. About a week after Irma hit, all but 6% of Puerto Rico’s cell sites were back online.

“Unfortunately, getting Puerto Rico’s communications networks up and running will be a challenging process, particularly given the power outages,” Mr. Pai said.

In an interview aired on the only radio station left that could still broadcast across the island, PR Gov. Ricardo Rosselló described the situation on the island as a crisis. Flooding and mudslides are a “giant problem” especially in rural, mountainous areas, he said, adding that damage to the island’s infrastructure was enormous and the cost to fix it will be “humongous.”

But in a heartening demonstration of resilience, residents of San Juan - the Puerto Rican capital, which experienced flooding throughout most of its downtown area, including its financial district - are banding together to compensate for the loss of essential services. Left to fend for themselves, San Juaneros took to the streets Thursday to "figure it out," the Miami Herald reports.

"No electricity? A mustachioed man in a white undershirt played traffic cop at a Santurce intersection. No ambulances? A daughter borrowed her brother’s SUV to race her frail mother from the La Perla neighborhood to a hospital. No debris removal? A physician and two neighbors borrowed garden tools to clear main Condado thoroughfares on their own.


With the enormity of Maria’s destruction still unknown even to the overwhelmed Puerto Rican government, the capital’s storm-dazed residents ventured outside Thursday, clogging roadways while trying to bring some semblance of order to their bruised city."

One doctor chided his neighbors for not pitching in, criticizing them for coping with their problems by "stress eating."

“Get busy!” implored Dr. Joseph Campos, a 52-year-old internist at the San Juan Veterans Administration hospital, tree-trimmer in hand as he and his neighbors cut down a tree partially blocking access to a highway. “Even if all you can do is pick up a single, little branch. I’m not eating, and I’m healthy, and I’m working. You don’t have to sit home stress-eating.”

Countless roads were impassable, some neighborhoods largely cut off because of debris or flooding. Most areas outside metro San Juan remained unreachable Thursday, both by road and by phone. Campos had no news of his parents in western Puerto Rico and how they’d fared after the Category 4 storm knocked out power to the entire island. Despite the loss of comunication tools, some damage reports from across the island have trickled out. Three sisters were confirmed dead in a building collapse in the mountainous central region of Utuado, according to local press accounts, while authorities declared small communities across the island as essentially destroyed. The official death toll in Puerto Rico has risen to 10. Across the Caribbean, Maria caused the deaths of 30 people.

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 4,000 people had been rescued by helicopter, trucks and boats by the National Guard, police, firefighters and municipal officials, according to the Herald.

Mr. Rosselló ordered an overnight curfew from Wednesday to Saturday and banned liquor sales. The move appears to be an effort to prevent looting and to maintain security. After Hurricane Irma, there were reports of incidents of looting in St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, some of the British Virgin Islands, and in St. Martin.

Fortunately for the cash-strapped island, Trump declared a major disaster in Puerto Rico on Wednesday and ordered federal assistance for 54 of the island’s 78 municipalities, including grants for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. FEMA has hundreds of staff members in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands conducting initial impact assessments and helping to get seaports and airports open, said Mr. Long, the agency’s administrator, in an interview Thursday.

While the damage to Puerto Rico was unprecedented and severe, it pales in comparison to the total destruction that Maria brought to the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica, which saw its agriculture-based economy totally wiped out, along with towns, roads, forests and its communications and electricty infrastructure.

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realmoney2015's picture

Lots of ways to help Puerto Ricans in their time of need:


We are raising funds to help them with food, water and shelter. If you have ever visited, you know that they are extremely kind people. 

realmoney2015's picture

The charity we are donating to are a local organization ran by Puerto Ricans and are helping with food, water, and shelter. It's called ConPRmetidos!

Manthong's picture


Old Yeller’s going to have to crank up the Heidelberg’s because the money does not exist to repair what Harvey and Irma have damaged, not to mention that we are not in peak hurricane season yet…. and not to mention earthquake, volcano, tsunami, WWIII or other hazard.

But we can spend $700 Billion this year on the F’g MIC.

Creepy_Azz_Crackaah's picture

Oh, crap. How will they spend their cryptos at the local grocery store?

CuttingEdge's picture

A 19 minute video of extreme carnage by WXChasing  - far better than any MSM output (which has been minimal - all preocuppied with a school in Mexico City). And this was the south side which didn't get the storm surges - looks like God had a party with a fucking great ripsaw.


Jesus wept.

StackShinyStuff's picture

But HEY! Russell 2000 is at all time highs! (see next article)

realmoney2015's picture

Not sure what all the down votes are for. We are literally donating money to a charity that Will help Puerto Ricans. 

$.10 for every share and like. Just want to help them in this rough time. 

Déjà view's picture

Cruise ships will bring 1 Mn. Ricans to Fl.

MillionDollarButter's picture

Be careful of fake charity organizations.  Please contribute responsibly to either La ONA, Rompe ONA, or the Association Ñeta.

realmoney2015's picture

Thanks for the suggestion. As far as we can tell ConPRmetidos is legit. Said the will help with food, water and shelter. They are locally ran as well. 

Intoxicologist's picture

I didn't down vote you, but I'll never join Facebook even for a good cause.

realmoney2015's picture

Yes. I understand. Only have it for the business and to spread message of sound money. I'm very careful of what I put on there and what I us e ir for. Even that creeps me out.

stinkypinky's picture

You literally need to laugh at the downvotes. Most likely idiots feeling shitty about their life and hoping they can get a rise out of trolling you during a time of vulnerability.

realmoney2015's picture

Yeah. We are trying to help and do the right thing. Puerto Rico is a beautiful place and the people are really nice. Old San Juan, Farjado and Luquillo were all wonderful places with wonderful people when I visited 3 years ago. 

I hope to go back and see a thriving population. 

Jim in MN's picture

Why the Hell aren't sets of barges with fuel oil gensets already there, having been pre-positioned?

They said the entire PR grid would be down over a month ago. 

In India and China they float extra power generators (big ones) to cities and industrial sites as needed.

Come on.  Cut the crap.



Cloud9.5's picture

I know exactly how this feels.  A lot of old people are going to die from the heat.  We were able to keep ours alive because we had generators. The lessons learned in 04 were that you require cell towers to have propane powered generators on site to kick on when the power goes off.  The second lesson is to require key gas stations to have generators to run their pumps.  Publix in north Sebring has a massive generator and was back on line the day after the storm. Learn people.

HRH Feant2's picture

I was surprised to find my local Home Depot, one of them, has a massive generator out back. At my former location we had a power outage one day and I went outside. Home Depot had on lights. Walked around the back and saw this monster generator. It was bigger than a 20-ft container.

No, I don't live in a hurricane zone.

Manthong's picture


I could make a good case to the local grocer that one of my junk Morgan’s is worth a couple cases of water or to the local gas station guy that two of my junk dimes is worth a gallon of gas.

tmosley's picture

And if you farted with enough force, you could fly to the mainland.

Dirty Bumn's picture

Your so fucking stupid....

tmosley's picture

>Your so fucking stupid....


I came here to laugh at you.

tmosley's picture

The same way they will spend their gold.

Creepy_Azz_Crackaah's picture

Got it. They'll hand their electronic 1s and 0s to them even though their computer/phone is dead and all communication lines are down. Thanks for the info!

tmosley's picture

IE they won't spend it, because nobody fucking takes that shit, and all the coin shops are closed.

Do try to keep up, peanut boy.

hoytmonger's picture

If they have a Goldmoney account they can. The debit card can even be purchased in 18K gold or silver which can be traded for goods and services.

Cryptos aren't worth a fuck in this situation. Keep trying to sell bullshit though.


Jim in MN's picture

Can't you just hold up your phone and make some R2-D2 bleeping noises?

Kind of like crypto credit.

ne14truth's picture

The same way they are going to spend all their gold and silver they have been stacking....oh wait, scratch that

Circlehook's picture

Yep, time to fire up the disaster relief printing presses!

GUS100CORRINA's picture

Puerto Rico: No Power, No Phones, And "Unprecedented" Damage

My response: I watched something last night that said Puerto Rico could be without power in many areas for 4 to 6 months because all of the power transmission infrastructure was completely destroyed with many areas complete flooded out. 

I suspect that the TRUE death toll numbers may NEVER be released. In some areas it was stated that some rivers were 40+ feet above flood stage. If that is true, anyone staying behind in one of these areas would have drowned. Truly sad.

It will be interested to monitor this situation in the weeks ahead to see how the society responds. Puerto Rico was also having financial problems and this latest event is really going test everyone;s patience.

realmoney2015's picture

I've heard that too. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone on the island (and the neighboring ones too!)

Lumberjack's picture

They have a huge problem. This will take years to repair.


Now had they real generation instead of this boondoggle, power would be restored in a few weeks.

small axe's picture

cancel the F-35 and we could repair the damage and go on to build world-class infrastructure...but where's the profit in that?

Falconsixone's picture

Puerto Rico's part of the United States so FEMA/Navy etc. need s get their asses moving and earn their fucking money.

Insurrector's picture

Maybe when we build the wall we can wall off all the low lying areas of the coastal states and island territories . . . starting with Texas.

Buck Johnson's picture

I know, he's just talking shit there is no money for all that and more.

Falconsixone's picture

I could put a bone in Cristina Sumaza for a couple bucks.

Puerto Banus NA's picture

Had a home at 1407 Ashford for a decade....I know them.


booboo's picture

Well at least you may be able to get some sleep now, Ricans have a strange love of sitting in their garage and playing their music at 200 decibels and have to speak to each other as if they want everyone in the fucking neighborhood to know what they are saying.

MoreFreedom's picture

Having lived in PR, and while I agree there are kind people there, it's also a very corrupt country especially in the government.  And most people there are tribal racists as well - against anyone who's not a Puerto Rican.  Ripping off the Yankee taxpayer is one of their favorite pastimes.  And there are a lot of them who are happy to rip off their neighbors as well. Just look at all the burglar bars on the windows and doors - they are there for good reason. Just search on the internet for "Puerto Rico corruption" and you'll get a taste of it. Or look on google street view and you'll see the burglar bars over all the windows/doors just about everywhere. 

As for the PR bankruptcy, note that 1 of every 4 employees in PR is paid by the government.  And they don't do much.  Or look at this list of PR government owned corporations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_government-owned_corporations_of_P...

What's going on, is the politicians there are trying to renege on superior debts to stateside investors, so they can continue to pay government employee pensions and payroll for no-show jobs (that give kickbacks to the politicians). 


E. Phil Chew's picture

.....and 'somebody' is gonna have to pay for it all to get done.

'Somebody'...... Howdy to all us 'somebodies'.

Watch every dollar.   What was once there is all gone in a Democrat/leftist nudge.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Yes, power/energy (a.k.a. consumable calories) are important...


The laws of Nature and physics redefining "wealth" and "money"...




"Full Faith and Credit"

RagaMuffin's picture

May have just "solved" the $70 BLN debt crisis..............

Muroluvmi's picture

Wonder how Schiffy boy is doing.

HRH Feant2's picture

The last interview I saw of Schiff he looked tan and fit. I am guessing he is fine.

Now Harry Dent? Hahahaha! Heard him interviewed on FOX business and he can't get the hell out fast enough.

lester1's picture

They need to stop playing with that HAARP weapon in Alaska that Nikola Tesla invented.

detached.amusement's picture

Jim stone has more screen shots of rectangular action and calls bullshit on Maria

when your electrical grid looks like its India...

consider me gone's picture

I'll bet the waves at Rincon and Wilderness (Wildos) are going off!!!  Like Pipeline.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Outer banks is pumping big time...

...may need to make a quick trip with the boys this weekend...

Whoa Dammit's picture

A lot of the structural damage was 60 year old rusted out tin roofs being blown off. 

Lots of photos out there of the locals wading around in water that has downed power lines. Not very smart.