In response to yesterday’s announcement that FEMA will end further line restoration by the Army Corps of Engineers in Puerto Rico, Martha Thompson, Oxfam America Program Coordinator for the Puerto Rico response, said:
“With just two weeks left until the next hurricane season begins, we are concerned that both US government and Puerto Rican authorities are simply abdicating their responsibility to restore power to every last Puerto Rican. While the Army Corps of Engineers may have completed their mission as tasked, it is clear the recovery is anything but complete. It is unacceptable that that nearly eight months since Hurricane Maria, some 20,000 subscribers, comprising more than 70,000 people, remain without power.
If the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is not able to fully restore power to all subscribers as they have guaranteed, it is irresponsible of them to turn away technical support from the Army Corps of Engineers. Oxfam is concerned that PREPA does not have the extra capacity to complete full restoration of electricity of 20,000 subscribers in time for the next hurricane season, beginning in just 14 days.
While FEMA will temporarily operate three mega-generators and 700 generators in critical facilities across the island, the fact that the island is still being supported by emergency generators after eight months speaks volumes.
Oxfam urges all authorities involved – including FEMA, Puerto Rican authorities, and the federal government – to urgently find a solution for the 70,000 remaining Puerto Ricans without electricity."