Puerto Rico's aid is trapped in 9,500 shipping containers

By Patrick Gillespie, Rafael Romo and Maria Santana CNN

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CNN) -- A mountain of food, water and other vital supplies has arrived in Puerto Rico's main Port of San Juan.

But a shortage of truckers and the island's devastated infrastructure are making it tough to move aid to where it's needed most. Only 20% of truck drivers have reported back to work since Hurricane Maria swept through, according to a representative for Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

On top of that, a diesel fuel shortage and a tangle of blocked roads mean the distribution of supplies is extremely challenging. Even contacting drivers is a problem because cell towers are still down.

"When we say we that we don't have truck drivers, we mean that we have not been able to contact them," Rosselló said.

On Thursday the White House authorized a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act, a federal law that limits shipping to US ports by foreign vessels. Puerto Rico's governor and other US officials had argued that a waiver would expedite supplies to the island.

But shipping companies already have aid and supplies either waiting at the port to be delivered -- or held up at ports on the US mainland.

About 9,500 containers of supplies were sitting at the Port of San Juan Thursday morning, said Yennifer Alvarez, spokeswoman for Puerto Rico's governor.

Shipping company Crowley said it had 3,000 containers there, filled with clothes, food, medicine, water, construction materials and even cars.

As of Wednesday, Crowley had only been able to dispatch 4% of those 3,000 containers, said Jose Ayala, the company's vice president in Puerto Rico.

'This hurricane was catastrophic'

Ayala said the company can't get enough truck drivers or trucks filled up with diesel to pick up supplies for distribution across the island.

"The problem has been with the logistics, the parts of the supply chain that move the cargo from our terminal to the shelves or to the tables of the people in Puerto Rico," Ayala said Wednesday. "This hurricane was catastrophic."

Meanwhile, Puerto Ricans are waiting hours in line to get gas, food and cash. Gas stations and supermarkets are rationing supplies, while banks are running low on cash.

Natalia Manteiga waited outside a supermarket Wednesday in Old San Juan that was letting in a few people at a time. She wanted to get water, tuna, and Chef Boyardee for her two children and her husband -- who had waited for hours Tuesday to get $20 worth of gas.

With stifling humidity and temperatures in the high 90s, it started to rain on Mantiega and dozens of other hopeful shoppers trying to get food.

Manteiga, who works for a tourism firm, said she's running low on cash, too.

"It's difficult when you have kids. You want to make sure they have enough food," said Manteiga. "They told me the banks are refilling, but we don't know and the lines are very long."

CNN's Marilia Brocchetto, Patricia Pedraza and Bijan Hosseini contributed to this report.

Panorama Hispano is the regional news and information newspaper for Hispanic and other diverse communities.

US Hispanics are now the largest ethnic minority in the United States numbering 54.2 million as of July 2014. Serving: Buffalo, Rochester, Fredonia, Niagara Falls, NY and Erie, PA. Outside our Market area: Visit our affiliate at: http://www.impremedia.com/

Contact us: Contact@PanoramaHispanoNews.com

Featured News

May 7, 2021
Pfizer y BioNTech donarán vacunas a atletas olímpicos

LAUSANA, Suiza (AP) — Pfizer y BioNTech donarán dosis de su vacuna de coronavirus para inmunizar a los deportistas que se preparan para los Juegos Olímpicos de Tokio, anunció el COI el jueves. La entrega de las dosis comenzará este mes para darles a las delegaciones olímpicas tiempo para estar plenamente vacunadas con una segunda […]

Read More
May 7, 2021
Republicanos: Del partido de Lincoln al partido de Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kevin McCarthy encamina al Partido Republicano a un punto de inflexión al prepararse para hacer a un lado a la representante Liz Cheney, tercera en la jerarquía republicana de la cámara baja, e impulsar la transformación del partido de Abraham Lincoln en el partido de Donald Trump. El líder del bloque republicano […]

Read More
May 7, 2021
Cruise giant Norwegian threatens to skip Florida’s ports

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is threatening to keep its ships out of Florida after the governor signed legislation banning businesses from requiring that customers show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. The company says the law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis is at odds with guidelines from federal health authorities that would let cruise ships […]

Read More

popular categories

Copyright © 2021 Panorama Hispano News. All Rights Reserved.
crossmenuchevron-downmenu-circlecross-circle
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram