This thread is mostly full of idle speculation, is at the least insensitive
and verges on offensive.
If you have operational information about Puerto Rico (see Sean Donelan's
posts rather than these responses), please go ahead. If you would like to
allocate blame, please go somewhere else to do it. The Internet is full of
people who are blaming Puerto Rico for getting hit by a hurricane. I don't
need it here.
Well, the problem as I understand it is that the infrastructure was
not all that great to begin with. Much of it was damaged in the first
storm and when this second one came through, what remained basically
Being hit with a Cat 5 hurricane/cyclone in a caribeean island that
hasn't been a direct hit from severe storms in decades will cause
extensive damage no matter what state its infrastructure was in before.
Vegetation that does not regular storms to "prune" it will grow to a
point where it will cause major damage when a big storm hits.
And a caribbean island who has never been "rich" will not have had, as a
priority, increasing building codes to widthstand hurricanes. Building
codes get updated after a big devastating hurricane, whether it is for
Darwin in 1974 (Tracy) or ones like Andrew in Florida.
It's easy for a state the size of Texas to send all of its electrical
utility trucks to the Houson area to repair damage. But they too would
be stretched thin if all of Texas had been leveled.
If buildings were not built to widthstand a 5 or a 4, then the building
itself becomes destructor of infrastructure as its materials become high
speed projectiles throuwn at other buildings and especially
I went through a category 4 (Olivia, Australia 1996). While the town and
building I was in (Karatha) were built to new standards and had little
damage, I witnessed the power of it, and I can totally understand Puerto
Rico being destroyed.
I know a politician with tendancy to skew facts points to Puerto Rico
having had terrible infrastructure. But consider that Darwin, a "rich"
town" was wiped out in 1974 by Tracy.
Tracy was a 4. Maria was a 5.
(note the alert sound at start of video still sends shivers down my
spine because it was the same as I heard before Olivia hit).
The population was evacuated by 747s because there was nothing there to
support it. The road link to is (Stuart Highway) is so long that Darwin
is tantamount to an island. (especially since Stuart wasn't fully paved
Also note: in Florida, the utilities positioned all their equipment in
safe places so it could survive storm and be deployed when needed. But
what happens when there is no safe place, or the safe places become
isolated because roads become impassable?
It is one thing when a state has some areas with high level of
destruction. But when the whole state is destroyed, it is a truly
different situation because its economy is also destroyed. Florida
Power still has plenty of revenues from undamaged areas to pay for the
repairs in damaged areas. The Utility in Puerto Rico doesn't. (and if it
was finacially weak before, it makes things worse).
When you see other states' utilities coming to help in a highly damaged
area, don't think for a minute they do this for free. The local utility
stll gets a bill at the end of the day for the work done. If the Puerto
Rico company has no cash to pay, don't exopect other utilities to send