Postcards from post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico

Robert L. Read

December 4th, 2017

Workers prepare a line behind a vendor selling American and Puerto Rican flags.

Between Nov. 9th and Dec. 4th Arthur P. Malm and I went on a personal mission to Puerto Rico (PR) to distribute water filters and solar panels. A picture is worth a 1000 words, but pictures imperfectly capture the the spirit of a people. Puerto Rico needs help, but the are doing a great job dealing with and economically crushing situation. “Puerto Rico se levanta!”

A family in a roofless home watches Art Malm demo a water filter
How they keep the water off the owls, I don’t know.
No fan, no light, no problem for a pre-Christmas gathering (in the daytime.)
Down the street, the lack of power meant she could not use her fan, so the mosquitoes were a problem and she could not get repellent.
Next door in Pezuela, a bedridden man lacked a working oxygen bottle and safe running water. Luckily his son had a generator he could run part of the time.
Blue tarps are everywhere in PR, a stopgap until roofs can be repaired.
A landslide destroyed this home. The water line was run from a barrel beneath a stream after the landslide; this is why they need water filters.
Luis Soto and Nilsa Velez of PPUC — Pepina por Una Causa deliver bottled water. Hopefully our filters will decrease this.
In other places, crews are working to restore power — but it will take a long time, almost every line was knocked down.
With no power, you have no water. The sign above says to boil the water, I think.
An entire line of high-voltage long-distance lines were ripped from their foundations and lean against the highway.
Even in downtown San Juan, there is much work to do — I think this truck said “ConEdison” on the side.
El Yunque, the southernmost National Forest of the US, will be closed until December — 2018.
Looks like Don Quixote finally won against these windmills.
A proud but maimed giant produces no power.
This beautiful town has a nice beach, and now power. I think it is Húcares.
A beach outside Arecibo, perfectly clean and almost deserted. I imagine sport fishing is great here.
A fallen billboard outside of San Juan.
What we couldn’t give away directly, we gave to the Catholic Church in Ciales, which had only a generator.
Robert L. Read

Written by

Public Inventor. Co-founder of @18F. Presidential Innovation Fellow. Agilist.

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