WAIT­ING

FEMA strug­gles to catch up as nearly everyone on is­land is still with­out power.

The Citizens' Voice - - Front Page - BY BEN FOX AND DAN­ICA COTO

Aid en­ters Puerto Rico but many still wait.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Thou­sands of Puerto Ri­cans were fi­nally get­ting wa­ter and food ra­tions Fri­day as an aid bot­tle­neck be­gan to ease, but many re­mained cut off from the ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties of life and were des­per­ate for power, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and other trap­pings of nor­mal­ity in the af­ter­math of Hur­ri­cane Maria.

There were many peo­ple around the coun­try, es­pe­cially out­side the cap­i­tal, who were un­able to get wa­ter, gas or gen­er­a­tor fuel. That was de­spite the fact that mil­i­tary trucks laden with wa­ter bot­tles and other sup­plies be­gan to reach var­i­ous parts of Puerto Rico and U.S. fed­eral of­fi­cials pointed to progress in the re­cov­ery ef­fort, in­sist­ing that more gains would come soon.

In some cases, aid that was be­ing dis­trib­uted by the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency was sim­ply not enough to meet de­mand on an is­land of 3.4 mil­lion peo­ple where nearly everyone was still with­out power, half were with­out run­ning wa­ter in their homes and the econ­omy was still crip­pled from the ef­fects of the storm that swept across the U.S. ter­ri­tory as a fierce Cat­e­gory 4 hur­ri­cane Sept. 20.

“I haven’t seen any help and we’re run­ning out of wa­ter,” said Pe­dro Gon­za­lez, who was clear­ing de­bris to earn money in Rio Grande. In­creas­ingly des­per­ate and with a daugh­ter with Down syn­drome, he had al­ready de­cided to move to Louisiana to stay with rel­a­tives. “We’re get­ting out of here.”

FEMA was in the town the pre­vi­ous two days to dis­trib­ute meal pack­ets, wa­ter and snacks. But peo­ple said they hadn’t been able to get there in time. “This has been a com­plete dis­as­ter,” said 64-year-old re­tiree Genny Cordero as she filled plas­tic trash cans with wa­ter at the home of a neigh­bor who was among the lucky ones to have service re­stored.

RAMON ESPINOSA / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Po­lice of­fi­cers await the funeral pro­ces­sion Fri­day for their col­league Luis An­gel Gon­za­lez Lorenzo, killed dur­ing the pas­sage of Hur­ri­cane Maria when he tried to cross a river by car, at a ceme­tery in Aguada, Puerto Rico.

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