Wednesday, November 15, 2017

San Juan Report

For the past two weeks, I've been on the ground in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Although I earlier reported the resumption of normal life after Hurricane Maria, what I saw from the bow of the hospital ship was superficial. Beyond the Marina street, electricity is not in service in the old city. A number of shops are open and running on diesel generators. Grocery stores are selling dry goods which do not require refrigeration. Essentials like eggs and milk can be procured at certain restaurants running on generators. It is impossible to find fresh meat in affected areas of the harbor, although stores near downtown have had electricity restored.For eligible patrons, the PX and Commissary at Fort Buchanan, both well-stocked, were doing brisk business. Gasoline is available, and rush hour traffic jams give a sense of normalcy. However, many traffic lights remain down, and major intersections are being marshaled by police. Light rail service is not available, but a cabbie was optimistic of an upcoming reopening. Much work remains in restoring public infrastructure, which will at long last allow more citizens to resume daily life and get the essential tourism industry back on track.