While the federal government continues its historic response in Puerto Rico to hurricanes Irma and Maria, strong indicators of stability are evident.
- Capabilities are renewed in Puerto Rico’s healthcare system and medical infrastructure: 99 percent of Puerto Rico’s hospitals are operational, 94 percent of Puerto Rico’s dialysis centers are open and treating patients, and 72 treatment clinics open. By next week all hospitals in Puerto Rico are expected to be open.
- The vast majority of roadways are clear of debris, including more than 2,900 miles of road in all 78 municipalities allowing residents to reach essential services.
- The need for food and water supplied by the federal government continues to decrease as the local economy recovers. Far fewer requests are coming in for commodity deliveries from municipality mayors and storage centers around the island are full of non-perishable food.
- 421 grocery stores are open and stocked with food including refrigerated items. PAN transactions are now back to close to pre-storm levels.
- Banking services are returning. 1,239 ATMs are currently in use, allowing residents to be self-sufficient and have access to the cash they need to keep the economy growing.
- Business production throughout the island is returning to pre-storm levels. As an example, Ardent Mills/Molinos de Puerto Rico, the largest supplier of flour and rice on the island is at full production.
- The restaurant industry continues to open restaurants on a daily basis. More than 91 Church’s Chicken locations are open; 14 Pollo Tropical locations; and 12 Baskin Robbins locations. More restaurants are opening every day.
The need for certain federal response capabilities declines as mission objectives are met. This flexible response capability is dictated by conditions on the ground where strategies are best managed locally.
As Department of Defense duties in Puerto Rico are shifting away from immediate response priorities of road clearing, commodity distribution and life-saving operations, Puerto Rico’s roadways, medical facilities and private sector are returning to their pre-storm statuses.
Puerto Rico’s health system is handling emergency and critical care for the island’s residents. Department of Defense medical facilities are being utilized for mostly routine care. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will remain in Puerto Rico as long as needed to support any ancillary needs for the island’s healthcare system.
Meanwhile, major efforts led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continue to benefit from the influx of additional resources that are critical to support their joint missions of power restoration and infrastructure stabilization. Additionally, National Guard and Reserve troops continue to provide critical services like security and water purification, among others, as needed.
The government of Puerto Rico, volunteer agencies, and local and federal partners, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will continue to work together to ensure all missions are completed and objectives are met so that Puerto Rico can create a new normal in the coming weeks, days, and years ahead.