Puerto Rico still 80% dark a month after Hurricane Maria

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WORLD  (San Juan) :  Puerto Rico is still in the dark one month after Category 4 Hurricane Maria slammed into the U.S. territory on September 20, the strongest to hit in nearly a century. According to ABC news, it killed at least 48 people, destroyed tens of thousands of homes and left tens of thousands of people without a job.  There’s estimated $85 billion in damage across the island.  And it has thrust Puerto Rico’s territorial status into the international spotlight, reviving a sharp debate about its political future as the island attempts to recover from flooding, landslides and power and water outages.

In the ABC News report, roughly 80 percent of power customers remain in the dark, and another 30 percent are without water. Schools remain closed. Stoplights are not operating. And while nearly 90 percent of supermarkets have reopened, many have bare rows of shelves empty of goods ranging from water to bananas to canned tuna. ABC News reported that less than half of Puerto Rico’s cellphone towers are operating, and only 64 percent of bank branches have reopened, some of them with dead outdoor ATMs whose empty screens prompt a roll of eyes from people seeking to withdraw money.

Resident Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez said the storm set Puerto Rico back 20 to 30 years, and while generators, food, water and other types of aid are still being flown and shipped to the island, people say it’s not enough. Nearly 5,000 people remain in shelters, with many using rainwater to shower.