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30 December, 2017

Puerto Rico: 1M without power 100 days after hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico is now in its 100th day since Category 4 Hurricane Maria struck the island, damaging vast amounts of infrastructure and nearly eliminating its electrical and running water systems.

Though some of these basic necessities have returned to the island, residents who have electricity say that "blackouts are part of life" and are angry that they are still in "recovery mode."

Clear statistics on electricity are hard to obtain on the island, a U.S. "territory." According to several news outlets, one million people are still without electricity. But according to Engineering and Agronomy High School President Pablo Vazquez, only 44 percent of Puerto Rico's nearly three million residents have reliable energy in their homes.

"We had to cancel our Christmas Eve dinner," resident Irma Rivera Aviles told NPR. The vast majority of the population on the predominantly-Catholic island was forced to spend Christmas in the dark.

While infrastructure in and around the tourism-dependent capital city of San Juan has returned, rural areas remain without adequate health care.

In terms of transportation, 27 sections along several highly-traveled highways are closed, 15 fallen bridges have not been rebuilt and hundreds of traffic lights are down.

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