Puerto Rico

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Frogfur, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. pnuggett

    pnuggett Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,513
    Likes Received:
    1,078
    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    My best friend and his wife have lived in PR for 16 years. They are in the mountains right next to El Yunque Nat'l Rainforest. Their house is on the side of a mountain. It's built like a bunker but I and they worry about landslides. I got word, not from them, that they are ok. They have a generator and get their water from a spring. Their power from Irma had not yet been restored when Maria hit. I wish them and all the people well.

    Having said that I have some personal views on the situation.

    Puerto Rico was a disaster waiting to happen. The electric service was undependable at best and had constant failures. It was basically sticks with wire. Due to the horrible economic condition that the island was in maintenance was not even keeping up with the deterioration of the dilapidated system. Puerto Rico was mainly to blame for their own economy. I'm prepared to debate that with anyone. Forget about the Jones act, etc. It was Puerto Rico and it's crooked Government that was the main issue.

    After Maria passed and devastated the island, electric power and roads were all but gone. That doesn't change overnight. Plenty of food, water and medical supplies were sitting in 10,000 containers stuck at the port. It was reported that only 20% of the truck drivers were able to report to work. The ones that did found trucks with no fuel. PR had days in advance to prepare by having those trucks fueled and ready to go. They weren't. The drivers that showed up and had a fueled truck were afraid to drive it without armed security. Drug gangs were already commandeering gas stations to fuel their own vehicles.

    First responders arrived on an island with almost no infrastructure. No power, no water, no communication, impassable roads, trucks with no fuel and not enough drivers to move trucks even if the roads were clear. The airport was mostly inoperable.

    Then the media started in. Why hasn't the Jones act been waived? That was not the problem. The ports were already full of containers unable to move. The ports were not in condition to receive more ships than were already available. The Jones act was waived but at this point it means nothing and provides nothing except fodder for the media.

    This isn't Houston or Florida. If Florida had the same third world like infrastructure as Puerto Rico I shudder to think what a disaster that would have been from Irma.

    The Mayor of San Juan needs to get a grip. Getting all emotional and throwing blame at the very people who are there to bail you out is not what your people need.

    I feel for the people suffering from lack of food, water, power,and med supplies. They will get that as fast as possible. No one is dragging their feet. Unfortunately Puerto Rico needs to shoulder a lot of blame for letting the island get into the mess it was before disaster struck.
     
  2. GuitarMechanic

    GuitarMechanic Senior Member

    Messages:
    894
    Likes Received:
    367
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Lots of animosity going on
    I just pray that poor hurricane victims (YES they are victims) get the help and love they need asap.
     
  3. Tone deaf

    Tone deaf Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,215
    Likes Received:
    22,668
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Actually, having a second Caribbean storm wipe out Puerto Rico is even worse for the smaller islands that were creamed by Irma. PR is the logistical nerve center of the Caribbean. Most of the flights (obviously not all, Miami handles a lot as do the other south FL airports) to the lesser islands connect in SJ and a great deal of the distribution of goods and services travel through PR. With the damage to the infrastructure in PR, that becomes a greater priority than the infrastructure on the lesser isles (not to mention that PR is a US Territory and most of those smacked by Irma are British, French and Dutch). Therefore, in order to recover the lesser isles, PR will have to recover first (in many instances). There are other airports, on islands that didn't get damaged, that can handle big airplanes, but several of the biggest airports (San Juan, St. Maarten to name two) were severely damaged by the storms. All of these islands have maritime shipping capabilities, but only the hubs have the ability to move massive amounts of material through them. Most are only capable of offloading what their local needs are and shipping out their solid waste (to PR).

    It would be nice if the POTUS, Queen or Prime Minister of France could snap their fingers and suspend the laws of physics, defy physical limitations and quickly overcome nearly-insurmountable logistical obstacles. However, that is the stuff of fantasy and movies and, unfortunately, all the movie theaters were heavily damaged, too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
  4. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,217
    Likes Received:
    4,915
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    pnuggett is 100% right about the Jones Act being a moot point and politicized shamelessly.

    Distribution of anything/everything desperately needed without communication, coordination and not done by armed unit usually turns into a disaster, especially with criminal gangs having the advantage. So even using a helicopter to drop it in isn't the answer without the aforementioned requirements being in place.

    Bottom line is this is a mess for many reasons and can't be compared to Harvey or Irma. The components are at a much higher difficulty scale across the board. Getting this better will require much more than Harvey and Irma combined on the mainland.

    PR looks like Germany after WWII. It took years to start looking like life could ever be normal again.

    The people in PR have a real dilemma.... Help as a citizen or take care of my own and the little we have left. THIS is really a hard question to answer with the way things are down there on so many levels.
     
  5. Tone deaf

    Tone deaf Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,215
    Likes Received:
    22,668
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    From the Washington Post on September 11th:

    "The U.S. military’s naval response to Irma — which savaged the U.S. Virgin Islands and other Caribbean Islands as a Category 5 hurricane last week — is certainly sprawling. The Pentagon has deployed at least eight other ships in addition to the Abraham Lincoln to help with Irma relief, providing dozens of helicopters and thousands of U.S. Marines and sailors to assist."

    Hurricane Maria did not strike Puerto Rico until September 20th. The US Navy was on hand nine days in ADVANCE of Maria. Two weeks BEFORE Maria hit FEMA had 124 people in PR and surrounding islands to be prepared in advance - at considerable risk to their own safety and well being.

    Maria is only the 5th strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico (San Felipe, Georges, Hugo, etc.). On average, PR gets hit with a major tropical storm once every 5 years. That is 20 major storms per century. There are no shortages of warnings. Hugo ('89) and Georges ('98), IIRC, kicked the sh*t out of PR. My friends and their families were there for both. We used to think that the old man was crazy for all the hurricane preparedness that he did. Not after Georges. We were all in NYC trying to get updates (they were my biz partner's in laws and their extended family in PR).

    The short comings in pre-storm preparedness and immediate, post-storm response are squarely on the shoulders of PR's local government and her people and nowhere else. If you chose to live in an area that is virtually assured of seeing a catastrophic storm, at least once every five years, it is your responsibility to be prepared to survive for some time, after a storm, until help can arrive. Is that a week? Two weeks? Well, if it was my family, I would err on the side of caution. If I have too much, I can share. If not...

    If anything, the US govt was more prepared to help after Maria than it was for any storm that has hit Puerto Rico in history.
     
  6. Tone deaf

    Tone deaf Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,215
    Likes Received:
    22,668
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011

    Agreed. It would be more appropriate to compare this to the earthquake in Haiti than to hurricanes in major US cities.
     
  7. Marshall & Moonshine

    Marshall & Moonshine Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,374
    Likes Received:
    24,964
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Thanks for clearing that up.
    I thought maybe they were the perpetrators.
    I was like “Why would you launch a hurricane on your own island?? That seems silly...”
    :)
     
    Fiat Lux, ramaglia375 and danohat like this.
  8. Tone deaf

    Tone deaf Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,215
    Likes Received:
    22,668
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    You should just shoot your guns into it (the hurricane) to make it go away. Seriously, I read that on the internet...
     
  9. Shelbyblues

    Shelbyblues Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,305
    Likes Received:
    8,760
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2009
    You guys need to quit bringing up the facts.

    We need more emotional knee jerk armchair quarter backing and finger pointing.

    That will fix it.
     
  10. KSG_Standard

    KSG_Standard Senior Member

    Messages:
    25,549
    Likes Received:
    27,895
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    You think we can chopper enough water and fuel for 3 million people? Telephone poles, copper wire, cement and electricity? Come on man, think. This is the biggest logistics nightmare in history. The things PR needs most, have to be generated or produced on site, they need electricity and water by the millions of gallons. The US Navy (the group the Puerto Ricans chased away and closed their bases) is positioning ships to provide desalination, the federal gov't (the taxpayers of the US States) are paying to bring telephone poles, wire and all the equipment and people needed to get the electrical grid up (it was on it's last legs before Irma hit)...it will have to be rebuilt from scratch.

    If you think something else needs to be done, by all means get off your ass and go help them or write them a big check. My 2 cents.
     
    Caleb, cybermgk, MCSteeler and 13 others like this.
  11. pnuggett

    pnuggett Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,513
    Likes Received:
    1,078
    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    ^ If I could "like" that ten times I would.
     
    VictorB and rockstar232007 like this.
  12. Marshall & Moonshine

    Marshall & Moonshine Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,374
    Likes Received:
    24,964
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    I write a big enough check every April, though it has a pretty high overhead for a charity.
     
  13. Malikon

    Malikon 仮面ライダー V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    58,821
    Likes Received:
    158,051
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    #ThoughtsNPrayers

    ...where'd I put that Farcebook filter....
     
  14. irocdave12

    irocdave12 Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,673
    Likes Received:
    1,522
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    If only there was a way to get the Jamaican sex dancers there to Puerto Rico I think it would really be a big boost to morale
     
    truckermde and Tone deaf like this.
  15. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

    Messages:
    11,670
    Likes Received:
    9,384
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    This is too complex a situation for short answers. First, relief supplies were a bit late in arriving at the San Juan port, in part because of the 1920 Jones Act that prohibits foreign flagged ships with foreign crews from delivering goods (or passengers) directly from one US port to another. This law was meant to protect the US shipping industry -- but we don't have one anymore and this law needs to be repealed stat! Once the supplies reached San Juan, they couldn't be moved via truck because roads were blocked by debris and the drivers were all caring for their families. Bulldozers needed to be flown in immediately, along with operators and truck drivers from our military. Then there is the lack of electric service. Distribution lines in Puerto Rico are (or were) ancient lines mounted on ancient poles (as in too many parts of the US). As a preventative measure, all electric distribution lines should be buried underground in the immediate future in all parts of the US subject to high winds of any kind. Extreme high voltage transmission lines, the kind on those huge "walking towers", still have to be overhead for engineering reasons. But if only some transmission lines are damaged, and the distribution grid is underground and saved, power can be restored more quickly. As it is, the whole distribution grid is destroyed, and it will take some time to rebuild it (and I hope it is rebuilt underground). My thoughts are with the People of Puerto Rico for as rapid a recovery as possible, under these circumstances.
     
    MikeyTheCat likes this.
  16. irocdave12

    irocdave12 Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,673
    Likes Received:
    1,522
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Although it's going to a long road Puerto Rico will come out of this better than ever with a lot of modernization done through the reconstruction. That's one of the benefits when everything is destroyed and starting from scratch. They may have one of the best electric grids for next time when they rebuild
     
  17. HearHear

    HearHear Senior Member

    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    673
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    AMEN to the suggestion of burying the lines underground for people in hurricane-prone areas, that can has been kicked down the road for way, way too long. Electric lines from the Texas coast to Louisiana to the Florida Keys need to be underground. My neighborhood here in South Florida is newer and the lines are buried, thankfully. We did not lose power during Irma when most of the rest of the county did!! And I mean most! The issue of burying lines, of course, becomes an issue of money and that's why it's not done on a wide scale. If you're broke like PR, they certainly can't afford to bury lines, it's more expensive than just putting up poles. Much of Florida's electric lines are on poles and resembles 1950's technology. Florida Power and Light shows little enthusiasm for burying lines, probably cuts into their profits of almost 2 billion per year........................................................................................
     
  18. pnuggett

    pnuggett Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,513
    Likes Received:
    1,078
    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    Maybe it's too soon but from a pragmatic point of view it's going to be a mess there for a very long time and unbelievably costly to put back together. PR is already about 75 billion dollars in debt that it can't pay back. Now businesses are shut down. Tourism forget it. Almost 20% of the island has left for the mainland over the last ten years and those were mostly the educated and professionals and was accelerating to an historic rate even before Maria hit.. There will be a further exodus of people off the island now. I can't even begin to guess what it will cost to put things back together. It will be a staggering amount and will have to be paid by you know who. It will be a huge investment with no chance of payback. It has been referred to as Welfare Island for years and now even more so. What a mess.
     
    Malikon likes this.
  19. TheX

    TheX Voice of Reason

    Messages:
    14,814
    Likes Received:
    21,113
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Do you have any idea how long it would take, and how much it would cost to do this? I agree it's the right way but converting existing infrastructure ain't gonna happen.
     
    Tone deaf likes this.
  20. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

    Messages:
    11,670
    Likes Received:
    9,384
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    On the subject of underground electric distribution lines, have you been to Germany? I was there a bit over a year ago and looking at the landscape something seemed to be missing. Finally figured out it was those overhead distribution lines mounted on poles. Don't think they have many high winds there, but those overhead lines fail for other causes too. Of course, Germany is a wealthy country, perhaps more so than the US. But a number of years ago I was on a cruise stop in Nicaragua and noticed trenches being dug under all the overhead distribution lines. I asked the tour guide what this was about. He told me they were to bury all the distribution lines, because the people were tired of extended outages from hurricanes. Now, Nicaragua is a very poor, "third world" country. If they can do it, we can do it. It is not a cheap operation, but it is a matter of priorities. I can't say how long it would take in a given area, but probably no longer than to completely rebuild an overhead grid as needs doing in Puerto Rico, and it will never get done if it is not started.

    Also I was in Puerto Rico not too many years back, and could not help but notice how flimsy many of the structures looked. Many residents there are poor, I know. But much of the place looked underbuilt to withstand even a small hurricane.

    No hurricanes here in Colorado. And no tornados in the mountains. But we can have some bad forest fires. So we take preventative measures, such as clearing trees and brush around buildings, and building them out of fire resistant materials. I really hope the rebuilt Puerto Rico is much more hurricane resistant.
     

Share This Page