Tesla Powerwalls and Powerpacks keep the lights on at 662 locations in Puerto Rico during island-wide blackout, says Elon Musk

 

Tesla Powerwalls and Powerpacks keep the lights on at 662 locations in Puerto Rico during island-wide blackout, says Elon Musk

Tesla Powerwalls and Powerpacks keep the lights on at 662 locations in Puerto Rico during island-wide blackout, says Elon Musk

Almost 1 million ratepayers of the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority on the island of Puerto Rico were reportedly without power today during an island-wide blackout.

But a few hundred locations with Tesla Energy storage systems were able to keep the lights on, according to CEO Elon Musk.

After Puerto Rico was ravaged by hurricanes last year, most of the island’s population lost power for an extended period of time as the grid was badly damaged.

While power slowly came back online over the last few months, they still have been having issues and today, the entire power grid went down again for virtually everyone on the Puerto Rican Electric Power grid.

The cause is still unclear and being investigated.

Only people with energy storage systems were able to keep the lights on, including Tesla Energy customers.

Tesla ramped up its effort to help Puerto Rico get a more robust grid after it was destroyed by hurricanes. They quickly started shipping Powerwalls, their home energy storage solution, and we reported that they started shipping Powerpacks, their bigger commercial and utility-scale battery packs.

Now Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that it added up to 662 locations that were able to keep power during the blackout and that they are trying to add hundreds more:

As we previously reported, some of those locations include very critical services.

For example, Tesla deployed a series of Powerpack systems on the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra for a sanitary sewer treatment plant, the Arcadia water pumping station, the Ciudad Dorada elderly community, the Susan Centeno hospital, and the Boys and Girls Club of Vieques.

Furthermore, the automaker’s energy division also deployed a solar+battery system at a hospital in Puerto Rico.

Tesla shipped a few hundred more Powerwalls to Puerto Rico and sent technicians from all over the US to install them.

According to Musk, the effort resulted in 662 projects and there are more underway.

Electrek’s Take

It’s fun to see energy storage at work to respond to emergency situations like this one, but it’s now clear that Puerto Rico needs a better long-term solution to their energy grid problems.

It was also reported that the Puerto Rican government was considering Tesla’s plan for a series of microgrids to help bring back power on a larger scale. The government has confirmed that they “presented several projects in remote areas that would allow entire communities to be more independent” and they also “presented a proposal to the Authority for Public-Private Partnerships for the deployment of a large-scale battery system designed to help stabilize the entire Puerto Rico electricity network.”

Hopefully, they can greenlight such a project soon.

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Posted in Hurricane Maria and after effects, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How corrupt are the police, law enforcement in Puerto Rico?

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/eighty-nine-law-enforcement-officers-and-44-others-indicted-drug-trafficking-crimes-puerto

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Eighty-Nine Law Enforcement Officers and 44 Others Indicted for Drug Trafficking Crimes in Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON – Eighty-nine law enforcement officers and 44 others in Puerto Rico have been charged in 26 indictments unsealed today and returned by a grand jury in San Juan, Puerto Rico, during the month of September 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez of the District of Puerto Rico announced today.

The defendants face charges ranging from conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, attempt to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and use of a firearm during the commission of a drug trafficking offense. The offenses charged cover a period from in or about July 26, 2008 until Sept. 21, 2010.

The arrests today are the result of Operation Guard Shack, the largest police corruption investigation in the history of the FBI. Close to 750 FBI agents were flown in to Puerto Rico from across the country to assist in the arrests early this morning. Currently 129 individuals are in custody and four subjects remain at-large.

“The Justice Department’s commitment to rooting out and eradicating alleged corruption in our law enforcement ranks has never been stronger,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “This department has one message for anyone willing to abuse the public trust for personal gain: you will be caught, you will be stopped and you will be punished.”

The indictments unsealed today are the result of 125 undercover drug transactions conducted by the FBI in several locations in Puerto Rico, from July 2008 until September 2010.  The defendants’ participation in the drug transactions consisted of providing armed protection to a drug dealer during the sale of multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine.  In exchange for their security services during the undercover drug transactions, the defendants, a majority of whom are law enforcement officers, received payments ranging from $500 to $4,500 per transaction.

The law enforcement officers indicted today are from the following agencies: 60 defendants from the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD); 16 defendants from various municipal police departments; and 12 officers from the Puerto Rico Corrections Department. The remaining defendants include: three Puerto Rico National Guard soldiers; two U.S. Army officers; eight former law enforcement officers ; one administrative examiner in child support matters; one employee from the Social Security Administration; and 30 civilians.

“These indictments demonstrate the commitment of the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico to eradicate corruption in our law enforcement ranks. We cannot help but be appalled at the criminal conduct charged today against those who have sworn to serve and protect the citizens of Puerto Rico.  The people of Puerto Rico deserve and expect better, and today we send a clear message. We will continue working side by side with the many honest members of Puerto Rico’s law enforcement agencies in our fight against drug trafficking, violent crime and corruption in the island,” said U.S. Attorney Rodríguez-Vélez.

“Public corruption does not just strike at the heart of good government. It also jeopardizes the security of our communities and our nation,” said FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry, Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch.  “It erodes public confidence and undermines the strength of our democracy.  The FBI is fully committed to pursuing allegations of public corruption and we will work closely with the Department of Justice to bring charges when necessary.”

The 61 indicted defendants from the Puerto Rico Police Department are:  Omar Pérez Prado; Lt. Ángel Torres Figueroa; Carlos Fontanez Mercado, aka “Machazo;” Yacira Vélez Milian; Heriberto Cruz Vargas aka “Yopi;” Giovanni Cubertier Morales; Armando Valle Vicenty; Melvin Acevedo Hernández; Jeff Marrero Malpica; José Fuentes-Fuentes; Nelson Álvarez Mendoza; Obed Acevedo Ranero; Joel Hernández Hernández; David González Pérez; Israel Rullan Santiago; Eusebio Hernández Nieves; Xavier Álvarez Pérez; Ángel Acevedo Pérez, Ángel Rivera Ortiz, aka “Kento;” Samuel Acevedo Rivera; Pedro A. Morales Cintrón; Michael Forestier Figueroa; Juan Cruz Ramos, aka “Tito K9;” Jorge Rosado García; José R. Sánchez Quiñones; Rafael Figueroa Quiñones; Mayra Jiménez Pacheco; Juan D. Santiago Rosado; Rolando Nieves Valentin; Brenda Acosta Andújar; Javier A. Díaz Castro; Arnold E. Benítez Rivera; Rafael Rodríguez Valentin; Ramón Benítez Falcón; Carlos M. Méndez Pérez; Juan Hernández Vega;  Daviel Salinas Acevedo; Pedro Ayala Rivera; Yamil M. Navedo Ramírez; Ivan Santiago-Cruz; Daniel E. Ocasio Figueroa; Rafael Bautista Santiago; Isaías Reyes Arroyo; Sgt. Luis E. Pérez Ortiz; Hector Hernández Aguilar; Karla M. Colón Bracero; Jim Santana Ramírez; Jayson Acevedo; José L. Salva Negrón; Milton L. Martínez Matos; Luis A. González Torres; Miguel Santiago Cordero; Alberto De La Rosa Reyes; José B. Vargas Torres; Hector López Terrón; Johanna Caraballo López; Silverio Vera Monroy; Juan Jusino Ramos; Raúl Vega Sosa; Jonathan Ortiz Muñiz; and Hector Olivero Alicea. Ricardo Vázquez (U.S. Army Recruiter); Rafael Ureña Rivera, aka “Indio (former PRPD);” and William Rivera García (former municipal officer).

The16 indicted defendants who are municipal police officers are:Andy Alejandrino Sánchez; Arcadio Hernández-Soto; Raquel Delgado Marrero; Ángel L. Rivera Claudio; Joel Omar Aldarondo-Montalvo; Neftali Valentin-Fred; José O. Maldonado García; Luis Joel Avilés Rullan; Mark Anthony Ortiz; Luis Román Herrera; Gabriel Lozada Torres; Onel Saavedra González; Rose M. Serrano Vargas; Wilfredo González Lagares; Francisco J. Riesta Natal; and Jose Pérez Pérez.

The 12 indicted defendants who are officers in the Puerto Rico Corrections Department are:Christian Díaz Maldonado; Olvin García Huertas; José L. Román Méndez; Ruben Maldonado Torres; Radamés Cortez Ozoa; Carlos M. Rosado López; Omar Torres Ruperto; Carlos M. Linares Vega; Bernis González Miranda; José R. Bermúdez Quiñones; Joel Díaz Nieves;  and Bernardo Cruz Trujillo.

The remaining 44defendants are: Carlos Figueroa Cruz; Anthony Cruz; Miguel Sánchez Román (U.S. Army, former San Juan Municipal); Rodolfo E. Torres Negrón; Melquiades Álvarez Mendoza; Juan Carlos González Ortiz; Nelmic De La Cruz Raposo; Jesús LNU; Axel González Terron; Juan Cruz Tapia (Social Security Office); Edgar Rafael Rivera De Jesús (retired PRPD); Idanis García Morales (child support examiner); Christian Sotomayor Filomeno; Omar Cajigas; Abimael Hernández Rivera; Pedro González-Cruz; Rubin A. Maisonet De Jesús;Wayne Cedeño Amador; Josué Ramírez González; Oscar E. Ramos Rodríguez; Antonio L. Román Reyes; Yancy Toro Espiet; Alex O. Cordero Cortez, aka “Omar De La Cruz;” Luis Vélez-Concepción; Billy Hernández; Edward Quiñones (former PRPD); Christian A. Núñez-Reverón, aka “Kelvin Nuñez,” Roberto Molina (retired PRPD); Francisco Manzano López (former PRPD); Abraham Sánchez (National Guard);  Hector Hernández-Aldarondo; Rafael E. Pérez Rivera; Sgt. Abraham González Sánchez (National Guard); Wendell Rivera Ruperto, aka “Arsenio Rivera,” (former PR Department of Corrections); David Maldonado (National Guard); Juan C. Ramos-Vargas, aka “Joseph Avilés;” Frederick Santos Ortiz, aka “Roberto Ortega;” Yoana Sierra Padilla (former PRPD); Julio Gómez-Lloréns; Ricardo Amaro-Santiago; Eliezer Pagán Medina; and Sgt.

If convicted the defendants are facing sentences ranging from 10 years, up to life in prison.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Courtney Coker and Jacqueline Novas.  The case is being investigated by the FBI San Juan Field Office.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

 

https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/news/stories/2010/october/operation-guard-shack

Operation Guard Shack
Historic Takedown in Puerto Rico

10/06/10

A special agent tracks progress of operation
A special agent tracks the progress of the operation. Gallery: Operation Guard Shack


Early this morning the FBI launched a massive public corruption takedown in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as our agents fanned out across the island to begin arresting 133 subjects—the majority of them police officers.

In what is likely the largest police corruption case in the FBI’s history, nearly 1,000 Bureau personnel from 50 of our 56 field offices were in San Juan for the takedown.

By late morning, as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney for Puerto Rico Rosa Rodriguez-Velez, and FBI officials were announcing the operation at a press conference in Washington, members of our Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) and SWAT operators had already arrested 129 subjects in a seamless and successful operation.

The colors on a map of Puerto Rico represent how cases were divided into tactical operations
The colors on a map of Puerto Rico represent how cases were divided into tactical operations.


Those charged with drug trafficking crimes and the use of a firearm in the commission of those crimes include 61 officers from the Puerto Rico Police Department, 16 officers from other municipal police departments, a dozen Puerto Rico Department of Corrections officers, members of the National Guard, and two U.S. Army soldiers. They all face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

“The actions of these individuals proved they were not worthy of the title of public servant,” said Luis Fraticelli, special agent in charge of our San Juan office. “They violated the public’s trust by using their authority for personal gain.”

The case, dubbed Operation Guard Shack, began more than two years ago, when then-FBI Special Agent Jose Figueroa Sancha began an investigation into corrupt San Juan police officers.

One of our undercover agents posing as a dealer selling multiple kilos of cocaine put the word out that he needed security during drug deals. Many of those who responded were cops. They actively took part in the transactions by carrying weapons and patting down the drug buyers—who were actually FBI informants. For their protection efforts, the cops were paid between $500 and $4,000 for each drug deal. In all, more than $500,000 was paid in protection money.

FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry discusses the operation with reporters at a press conference in Washington, D.C.
FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry
discusses the operation with reporters at a
press conference in Washington, D.C.

Figueroa Sancha—now chief of the Puerto Rico Police Department—knew of the continuing investigation and said from the FBI command post this morning, “All the officers arrested during today’s takedown did not honor or value the significance of working for the Puerto Rico Police Department.”

The operation began at 3 a.m., when 65 tactical teams hit the streets. But the takedown represented the work of more than just HRT and SWAT. On hand were a range of Bureau personnel—crisis negotiators, evidence response team members, canines and their handlers, and some 80 medical personnel from first responders and nurses to a trauma surgeon and a veterinarian.

And none of those people or their equipment—including armored Humvees, helicopters, and 250 rental cars—would have been in place if not for the logistical experts who worked around the clock in the days leading up to the takedown.

“A lot of planning went into this,” Fraticelli said, “and a lot of very capable people ‘what if’d’ the operation in every conceivable way.”

“This case sends a powerful message,” said Special Agent Alex Zappe, who worked the investigation from the beginning. “Corruption among our public officials—especially police officers—cannot be tolerated.”

Resources:
Press release
Remarks by Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry

 

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Puerto Rico a growing hub for cocaine, heroin shipments to the US

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/puerto-rico-a-growing-hub-for-cocaine-heroin-shipments-to-the-us

Puerto Rico a growing hub for cocaine, heroin shipments to the US

DEA agents load bales of cocaine into a van after a news conference at the U.S. Coast Guard base in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
DEA agents load bales of cocaine into a van after a news conference at the U.S. Coast Guard base in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Puerto Rico has become a hotbed for drug traffickers attempting to smuggle cocaine and heroin from South America to the East Coast of the U.S.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 65,890 pounds of narcotics in and around Puerto Rico from drug cartels and smugglers in fiscal year 2017, more than any previous year on record, according to federal data.

Jeffrey Quinones, public affairs officer for CBP’s Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands outposts, said the eastern Caribbean has served as a trafficking pit stop for decades, but the recent uptick indicates cartels are using the 100-mile-wide island to circumnavigate the southwest border.

“Drug trafficking organizations have always sought to use the Caribbean as a route to smuggle both narcotics and migrants. The logistics to do so are intrinsically more complicated than traversing the southwest border,” Quinones told the Washington Examiner. “Nonetheless, we have seen cyclical increases in the quantity of narcotics brought to these islands and a diversity of means to conceal and enter the product.“

CBP and Border Patrol sectors on the northern and southern borders report sizable drug seizures on a daily basis. A large bust in the continental U.S. can vary between $100,000 to $1 million worth of narcotics and is typically large amounts of marijuana.

Seizures are rare in Puerto Rico, but the majority of these incidents involve a high-ticket item: cocaine.

Two large busts in Puerto Rico in February yielded more than 460 pounds of cocaine worth nearly $7 million. Other one-time cocaine seizures last year included amounts worth $17 million, $16 million, $48 million, and $19 million.

The nearly 66,000 pounds of drugs discovered in and around Puerto Rico last year was about 40 percent higher than the previous year’s 47,541 pounds. That number has continually risen since CBP’s 2003 inception when DHS was created.

In 2013, the agency documented nearly 32,000 pounds of narcotics, but last year’s growth indicates transnational criminal organizations are pushing harder than ever to get their goods to the U.S.

In January 2015, the Obama White House issued the Caribbean Border Counternarcotics Strategy, which stated the flow of drugs through the Caribbean had more than doubled since 2011. The report stated trafficking is a “highly fluid enterprise which generally follows the path of least resistance” and said the increasing focus on the southwest border was pushing some drug smugglers to find alternative routes.

“Enhanced enforcement efforts along the Central America/Mexico corridor and on the U.S. Southwest border as well as the ongoing violence between rival TCOs [transnational criminal organizations] in Mexico may be contributing to the shift to more efficient, presumably less troublesome Caribbean routes,” the report said.

Traffickers used to use small aircrafts to “airdrop” shipments into the island in the 1980s and 1990s, but now rely on go-fast boats, fishing vessels, luxury yachts, cruise ships, and containerized cargo. The majority of drugs CBP seized on the island last year was from go-fast boats, known locally as “yola” vessels. Many maritime smugglers depart Venezuela with the goal of getting product to the southern coast of Puerto Rico.

The smuggling did not stop even after the island was rocked by Hurricanes Irma and Maria last summer. Quinones said traffickers “tried harder” at a time when law enforcement and first responders were focused for months on response and recovery efforts.

Fighting the drug cartels has been further complicated by Puerto Rico’s massive debt crisis. The U.S. territory is in the midst of restructuring its $70 billion in debt through the courts following a failure to strike a deal with creditors. The bankruptcy-like process is the biggest public debt restructuring process any U.S. entity has gone through.

The Operation Stonegarden grant program has allowed federal and local law enforcement to fund overtime and equipment as officers continue their fight, but one missing component to winning this battle is the lack of public awareness in the states.

“Puerto Rico has been a very active area in regards to drug trafficking, [but] unfortunately is covered sporadically,” CBP spokesman Carlos Diaz wrote in an email.

Quinones agreed. “We have a problem just like any other jurisdiction in the states. It’s just that we don’t get the attention from media in terms of what’s going on in the states.”

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Puerto Rico Driver’s License: How to renew it online. As of this date, YOU CANNOT

As of April 2018, this has still not been implemented, even though first claimed available in the news on December 21, 2016.

https://www.cnet.com/es/como-se-hace/licencia-de-conducir-de-puerto-rico-como-renovarla-por-internet

Puerto Rico Driver’s License: How to renew it online

Do you live in Puerto Rico? We show you how to renew your driver’s license online without having to make the long lines of the Driver Service Center (Cesco).

by

If you live in Puerto Rico and your driver’s license is about to expire, you can renew it online from the comfort of your home or office using a computer or tablet. Previously, the only way to renew the license was by visiting the nearest Driver Service Center (Cesco).

With the new process you can perform the process from the DTOP page and receive your license by traditional mail. However, not all drivers will be able to use the online renewal system. If you obtained a driver’s license through a manager or your license is in the Real-ID format , you will not be able to complete the online process and you will have to visit the Cesco.

To complete the process through the Internet, you must comply with the following requirements:

  • Have a valid email address.
  • Be a US citizen and be between 21 and 65 years old.
  • Your license must expire between 15 and 60 days.
  • Have the same name as the current driver’s license.
  • Do not have unpaid traffic violations (you can pay them on the DTOP page).
  • Have an updated medical certificate.

How to renew your driver’s license online

  • Verify that you meet all the requirements.
  • Get an updated medical certificate. If your doctor is not registered in the electronic system, you must register on the DTOP page.
  • Go to the DTOP website to complete the renewal form.
  • Select See more in the Online Services menu at the bottom right.
  • Click on Detailed Services to enter your credentials or register for the first time. To register you will need your license number, the last four digits of the social security and your personal information. The registration process may be delayed, since you must wait for an identification number to be assigned to access the system.
  • Once you enter the system, you can fill out the corresponding form with your basic information. You will also have to enter the category of the license you want to renew and verify that you are a US citizen.
  • The system will also verify if you have fines for traffic infractions, outstanding debts with the Administration for the Support of Minors (ASUME) or the Automobile Accident Compensation Administration (ACAA).
  • Pay US $ 11 for the renewal process and wait for your license to arrive.

Once you finish the process online, you can check the status of the renewal from this same portal. Your license will arrive by mail between seven and 15 days.

Remember, if your driver’s license is in the Real-ID format , you will have to go to the nearest Cesco to renew it and update the photo. You will not be able to use the system either if you are processing the license for the first time. For these cases you must visit the nearest Cesco.

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See also
Posted in DMV aka DTOP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Puerto Rico’s Agriculture and Farmers Decimated by Maria

Puerto Rico’s Agriculture and Farmers Decimated by Maria

Photo

Plantain trees flattened by Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa, P.R. In a matter of hours, the storm destroyed about 80 percent of the crop value in Puerto Rico, the territory’s agriculture secretary said. Credit Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

YABUCOA, P.R. — José A. Rivera, a farmer on the southeast coast of Puerto Rico, stood in the middle of his flattened plantain farm on Sunday and tried to tally how much Hurricane Maria had cost him.

“How do you calculate everything?” Mr. Rivera said.

For as far as he could see, every one of his 14,000 trees was down. Same for the yam and sweet pepper crops. His neighbor, Luis A. Pinto Cruz, known to everyone here as “Piña,” figures he is out about $300,000 worth of crops. The foreman down the street, Félix Ortiz Delgado, spent the afternoon scrounging up the scraps that were left of the farm he manages. He found about a dozen dried ears of corn that he could feed the chickens. The wind had claimed the rest.

“There will be no food in Puerto Rico,” Mr. Rivera predicted. “There is no more agriculture in Puerto Rico. And there won’t be any for a year or longer.”

Hurricane Maria made landfall here Wednesday as a Category 4 storm. Its force and fury stripped every tree of not just the leaves, but also the bark, leaving a rich agricultural region looking like the result of a postapocalyptic drought. Rows and rows of fields were denuded. Plants simply blew away.

In a matter of hours, Hurricane Maria wiped out about 80 percent of the crop value in Puerto Rico — making it one of the costliest storms to hit the island’s agriculture industry, said Carlos Flores Ortega, Puerto Rico’s secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

Across the island, Maria’s prolonged barrage took out entire plantations and destroyed dairy barns and industrial chicken coops. Plantain, banana and coffee crops were the hardest hit, Mr. Flores said. Landslides in the mountainous interior of the island took out many roads, a major part of the agriculture infrastructure there.

The island suffered a loss of $780 million in agriculture yields, according to the department’s preliminary figures. Hurricane Georges in 1998 wiped out about 65 percent of crops and Hurricane Irma, which only grazed the island, took out about $45 million in agriculture production.

Photo

Félix Ortiz Delgado looked over the damage to his crops on Sunday. Credit Victor Blue for The New York Times

For over 400 years, Puerto Rico’s economy was based on agriculture, historically focused on sugar cane, tobacco and citrus fruits. The island’s economy rapidly industrialized after World War II, leading to the downfall of agriculture production. In recent years, in part because of the island’s economic recession, people went back to the fields, and the industry is going through a small renaissance, growing at 3 to 5 percent every year over the past six years, Mr. Flores said. A growing farm-to-table movement has generated optimism in recent years about an agricultural rebirth.

Puerto Rico already imports about 85 percent of its food, and now its food imports are certain to rise drastically as local products like coffee and plantains are added to the list of Maria’s staggering losses. Local staples that stocked supermarkets, school lunchrooms and even Walmart are gone.

“Sometimes when there are shortages, the price of plantain goes up from $1 to $1.25. This time, there won’t be any price increase; there won’t be any product,” Mr. Rivera said. “When I heard the meteorologist say that the two had turned into a three and then a four, I thought, ‘Agriculture in Puerto Rico is over.’ This really is a catastrophe.”

He noted that other islands that export food to Puerto Rico, such as the Dominican Republic, Dominica and St. Martin, were also hit, and that the food supply could be even more precarious if the island’s other suppliers were also affected.

“There won’t be any gandules at Christmas this year,” Mr. Ortiz said, referring to a local favorite usually served as a combination of rice, pigeon peas and pork called arroz con gandules. “Even if we planted now, they won’t be ready.”

Mr. Ortiz, 80, said he had been working these fields for seven decades. He has lived through his share of hurricanes, including Georges, which wiped out the local sugar refinery in 1998.

“I have never seen losses like these in any of my 80 years,” he said as he stood on a riverbank, counting the number of coconut trees that fell. He could earn $100 a month from each one of them. A dozen cracked in half, beside a nursery where the winds swept away all the seedlings and left behind broken glass and ruin.

“Those palms take about 10 years to grow,” he said. “I will be dead by then.”

He is not the owner, but he said it hurt all the same. “You know what it’s like to see the place where you earn your daily bread destroyed?”

Efrain M. Robles Menendez, a dairy farmer, said cattle ranchers had been hit hard, because not only was there major damage to the infrastructure needed to maintain the business, but the supply chain was also cut off. With stores closed and the power out, the dairy trucks have not come.

“Since Wednesday, I have thrown out 4,000 liters of milk a day,” he said. “Come back later, and watch me pour it all down the drain.”

Some see the potential for something positive to come out of a disaster. Agricultural officials are hoping this will be the island’s chance to modernize its outmoded agriculture industry.

“Agriculture is the most vulnerable sector to natural disasters,” Mr. Flores said. “But it’s also the one that can have the speediest recovery, and it’ll be the great surprise in the Puerto Rican economy, because we’re going to come back stronger.”

Mr. Flores said much of the traditional agriculture in the island had depended on energy-inefficient practices that waste too much water and produce large amounts of waste. Federal funds that will help farmers rebuild infrastructure damaged by the hurricane will present an opportunity to improve the industry, he said.

“We had an antiquated agricultural infrastructure that maybe now is the opportunity to make it more efficient,” he said. “Now is the moment because we’re starting from zero. Maybe it hadn’t been done before because there was no way of financing it. We’re going to rebuild better this time.”

Photo

José A. Rivera, left, and his brother Ángel Rivera and nephew Javier Cacho Serrano surveyed the destroyed plantain crop in Yabucoa. Credit Victor Blue for The New York Times

Eduardo Bhatia Gautier, a local senator, said, “We can start developing an agriculture industry that is more profitable and start exporting Puerto Rican products, something this island hasn’t done in decades.”

Puerto Rico currently imports about 85 percent of the food it consumes and exports only 15 percent of what it produces, according to the government. Puerto Rico, Mr. Bhatia said, could service a growing demand for organic foods in the mainland United States. He estimated it could take at least a year to get the industry back up and running, as the soil recovers and farmers replant trees.

But long-term optimism does little to help farmers contemplating the destruction they see around them.

Mr. Pinto, 62, drove to the capital last week to stock up on vegetables to sell at a kiosk he runs with his wife. He did so because his 14,000 plantain trees are all dead and he had nothing of his own to sell.

On the ride to San Juan, he looked around at toppled trees, downed telephone poles, tangled power lines, roofs and crumbled wood structures and wept.

“I could not take seeing my country in pieces like that,” he said, holding back tears.

Mr. Pinto also lost all of his cattle. Literally. He does not know where they are.

He plans to start over as he did a decade ago when he lost everything to a flood. He will get about 35 percent of the value back from insurance, and will not quit, he said, using an expression that has become a popular hashtag: #yonomequito — I will not give up.

“A people without agriculture,” he said, “are a people without food.”

Posted in food and other products grown in Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria and after effects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Puerto Rico’s Democratic entrenchment fuels its own death spiral

Democrats in Puerto Rico INTENTIONALLY Keeping Power Off to Hurt Trump

Democrats in Puerto Rico INTENTIONALLY Keeping Power Off to Hurt Trump

The plot thickens in Puerto Rico.

The Democrats there believe they can make a “Katrina” of Maria, the hurricane that recently devastated the island sh*thole paradise. So they intentionally thwart attempts by President Trump to restore things to normal.

Months after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, nearly half the island’s residents remain powerless. But FEMA sent hundreds of workers to the area to help restore the electrical grid, so why the delay? Materials.

Items critical to restoring the grid in Puerto Rico are missing. Over the weekend, FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began raiding warehouses. To their amazement, they found that the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority has been “hoarding” these critical items.

The intercept reported that FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers entered a warehouse in Palo Seco  where they found hundreds of tension steel sleeves and nearly 3,000 items necessary for contractors helping Puerto Rico restore power.

Hard to imagine people putting politics before people. However, that’s modis operandi for Leftists.

Trending: Sad Truth About Obama Presidency Revealed by former Staffer

The Democrats believe you must crack a few eggs to make an omelet.

Not long ago the Associated Press reported on this very issue.

FEMA has been desperately importing electrical rescue crews, trying to get the island back to full power. But the crews themselves have faced a massive shortage of equipment and necessary parts — a shortage which puzzled the emergency management agency which has been importing the parts and materials since just days after Hurricane Maria hit.

The problem seems to be the PREPA, which received the materials but never distributed them. According to reports, PREPA failed to enter into “mutual aid agreements,” that would have allowed the electricity provider to seek help from private utilities in completing the island-wide restoration project.

At the same time, the Intercept reports, the Puerto Rican government is trying to reform PREPA, which seems to be causing more problems than it’s solving.

At least for now, it seems that FEMA and other agencies are getting involved, trying to make sure that crews they manage are fully stocked and supplied so that power can return to Puerto Rico.

The Mayor of San Juan hates President Trump. She’s willing to do anything to disrupt his administration’s efforts to rebuild Puerto Rico.

As CNN reported,

Yulín Cruz said in an interview with CNN’s Leyla Santiago that a briefing with Trump on Tuesday preceded a “productive” discussion with administration staff, but she lamented the tone of the President’s remarks in the wake of back-to-back hurricanes

Trump has accused Yulín Cruz of taking a political angle to criticize his administration’s relief efforts, and Yulín Cruz said she was able to speak with the President briefly when he shook her hand at Tuesday’s event.

“I told him, ‘Mr. President this is about saving lives. It’s not about politics,’” Yulín Cruz said. “That’s all the interaction that mayors had with him.”

But for Cruz, it is about politics.

Take a look at Houston, in comparison.

The Category 4 hurricane brought winds in excess of 130 mph, dumped trillions of gallons of rain, led to 82 deaths in the region and caused damage estimated at nearly $200 billion. The Astros, along with donating $4 million to hurricane relief efforts, seized onto the “Houston Strong” message, similar to what the Red Sox adopted in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing en route to winning the World Series in 2013.

Houston didn’t fret.

The city’s major league baseball team won a World Series, and now the job of recovery begins. No politics, just good old American Spirit at play. 

And PR wonders why they won’t get statehood.

///

 

http://www.scragged.com/articles/democrat-disaster-cities

Democrat Disaster Cities

Democrat rule destroys cities more thoroughly than enemy bombs.

Some time back, CNN quoted a politician and asked who said it:

“I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty but leading them or driving them out of it.”

Every politician talks about poverty because it’s become a serious issue – regardless of morality, our many entitlement programs are taking our society down.  There is also a human cost.  The US Census Bureau says that nearly a third of the residents of Detroit and Buffalo live in poverty as the government defines it.  This is such a waste of human potential that both liberals and conservatives agree that Something Should Be Done.

Nobody claims to be pro-poverty, but if you ask for solutions, ideas break down along party lines.  Liberals want to increase taxes to give more to the poor, conservatives want to create opportunities and nudge the poor into jobs by cutting welfare as Pres. Clinton did.

Liberals and conservatives have thundered rhetoric at each other for years, but we finally have some facts.  CNN gave the US Census rankings for cities with the most poverty and showed how long these cities have been run by Democrats:

Poverty
Rank
City Democrat
Since
1 Detroit, MI 1961
2 Buffalo, NY 1954
3 Cincinnati, OH 1984
4 Cleveland, OH 1989
5 Miami, FL forever
6 St. Louis, MO 1949
7 El Paso, TX forever
8 Milwaukee, WI 1908
9 Philadelphia, PA 1952
10 Newark, NJ 1907

Five of our poorest cities have been led by Democrats for more than 45 years.  The two other cities on the list, Miami, FL and El Paso, TX have never had Republican mayors.  Not ever.

Correlation is not Causation

The fact that all of our very poorest cities are run by Democrats doesn’t prove that Democratic policies lead to poverty, but it sure suggests it.  Fortunately, sociologists and economists have studied some of our older cities long enough to figure out what’s going on.  We now know why Democratic policies lead to poverty.

Two Harvard economists described the “Curley Effect,” named after Mayor James Curley of Boston who was elected to Boston’s Board of Aldermen in 1904 despite being in prison on a fraud conviction when the election was held.

Mayor Curley showed Democrats how to win elections by taxing productive people and channeling the proceeds to less well-off groups.  This bought Irish votes.  As taxes went higher, productive citizens who tended to vote Republican fled to the suburbs, which tipped the balance further and further in favor of Democratic candidates.

In cities like Baltimore and Detroit, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 8 to 1 or more.  Is it any wonder that they’ve become single-party cesspools with no hope for change?

The Democrat heartland.

Driving productive citizens away may be good politics but it isn’t good economics.  100 years ago when Henry Ford introduced the Model T, Detroit was the “place to be” for ambitious entrepreneurs.  Tens of thousands of blacks were drawn from the South to fill well-paying jobs in the industrial North.  After years of liberal misrule, Detroit has fallen so far that “black flight” has become common and major parts of the city are turning back into wilderness.

Baltimore hasn’t suffered quite as badly, but it, too, shows the damage done by Democratic policies.  In 1950, Baltimore’s median income was 7% above the national average; in 2011, after 48 years of Democrat misrule, it’s 22% below.

Boston, where the Curley effect originated, was in worse shape in 1980 than Baltimore is now, although it never got as bad as Detroit or Newark.  In 1980, Boston’s population had fallen 30% in the preceding 30 years and its crime rate was higher than Baltimore’s today.  Now, Boston is booming and crime has dropped.

What turned it around?  Did Republicans take over city hall?  Not exactly; state voters trimmed the excess taxes and productive people moved back in.

Massachusetts voters finally had enough and adopted a Proposition which forced Boston to cut taxes by 75%.  Just as California’s Proposition 13 cut taxes enough to revive San Francisco and Oakland, people returned to Boston.  Its population rose 10% since 1980 and its crime rate is now 25% lower than Baltimore’s.

Alas, tax reform seldom comes from within.  In Baltimore’s election last Sept. 13, the incumbent, who’d promised an inconsequential tax cut of 2% spread over 9 years, won re-election just as a classic big-city Democrat won the Mayor’s office in Washington, DC.

Turnarounds in Boston, San Francisco, and Oakland couldn’t come from within because the Democratic political machine had too much muscle after so many years of robbing the cities and driving away affluent voters.  It took statewide initiatives to slash tax rates so that the cities could survive.

Mayor Curley Lives On

These turnarounds happened in spite of the best efforts of the Democratic political machines.  The positive effects of slashing tax rates after years of boosting taxes “to benefit the poor” and the staunch Democrat opposition to such proven common sense demonstrates that the Curley effect is alive and well.

Taxing the productive to buy votes from government employees and the unproductive is good politics – it supported Democratic machines for decades on end – but it wrecks societies where Curley machines become entrenched.  Even though Democrats raise taxes in the name of helping minorities and the less well off, the latest census showed that minorities are leaving high tax states for places with lower taxes and fewer social programs but more jobs.

By the way, the quote about forcing the poor out of poverty which opened this article?  It was from that arch right-winger Benjamin Franklin.

The trouble, as Franklin clearly foresaw, is that most poor folks would rather take government handouts than lift themselves out of poverty.  The heavy lifting of growing up, taking responsibility, and doing it yourself is just too much work for anyone to do it if they don’t have to, as any parent knows.

Democratic policies are society-killers over time.  Let’s hope our voters understand that in 2012.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Economics.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/08/25/7-ways-democrat-policies-are-killing-americas-inner-cities

https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/how-decades-of-democratic-rule-ruined-some-of-our-finest-cities

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/213333/big-dem-cities-big-dem-poverty-arnold-ahlert

http://thefederalistpapers.org/us/every-major-city-which-is-a-poverty-center-is-run-by-democrats-heres-the-solution

 

http://www.crnc.org/democrats-failing-americas-cities-voters-beginning-take-notice

Democrats Are Failing America’s Cities, Voters Beginning to Take Notice

If states are laboratories of democracy, as Justice Louis Brandeis dubbed them, then our cities must be incubators of leadership. On a relatively small scale they allow for insight into how the governing ideas and principles of the political parties actually work in application. And, quite frankly, it gives a stunning insight into what happens when Democrats are allowed to run amok for decades without any meaningful conservative counterbalance.

Take, for instance, a recent article written by Jabari Parker, an NBA basketball player who fled the projects of Chicago to attend Duke University.

“You get used to the crime and, from a young age, you learn how to live with it,” Parker writes for The Players’ Tribune. “You learn what do do during a drive-by: You duck. And you run. I’m not saying all this to be tough, it’s just how things are.”

Quite frankly, things are bad in the Second City. More than 200,000 Chicagoans fled in the 2000s, pushing the city’s population down to a level not seen since 1910. During the recession, Chicago lost 7.1 percent of its jobs, the worst of any of the country’s ten largest metro areas. The city is a fiscal disaster, with $12 billion in underfunded pensions and a structural annual deficit of around $650 million each year. Things are so bad that Moody’s downgraded Chicago’s credit rating to “junk” with a negative outlooks. City officials tried to paper over the problem by raising tax rates. Is of 2011, Chicago residents paid the highest effective sales tax rate of any city studied by the Wall Street Journal. And the city’s famed corruption continues to run rampant. Since 1970, 340 officials in Cook County have been convicted.

These are not the signs of a successful city, yet somehow Chicago has been led exclusively by Democratic mayors since 1931. And we haven’t even gotten to the worst problem of all, the one that worries kids like Jabari Parker, who has seen his hometown grow more violent than even the scary days of his youth. He writes:

It’s only been a few years since I left, but Chicago isn’t the same city anymore. It’s worse. A lot worse.

Nearly 50 schools closed in Chicago in 2013, mostly in neighborhoods like mine, with primarily black students from low-income homes. Now, you might be thinking, Well those kids can just go to other schools. Is it really that big of a deal?

Yes, they can go to other schools, but the real danger is that these kids are now forced to go outside of their neighborhoods and maneuver around unfamiliar territory — some of which is controlled by gangs that are rivals to the ones near their homes. They’ve lost the safety and the insulation that we had from some of the violence because we went to school in our own backyards.

When I was a kid, there was crime and violence, but we could still run around and play. We could live around it. But July was the deadliest month in the city in 10 years.

Now, you’re hearing about kids being caught in crossfires at all hours of the day. Nearly 3,000 people were shot in Chicago last year alone. Already in 2016, there have been over 2,500 victims of gun violence.

Parker goes on to recite the tragic stories of Tamara Morgan, Kavan Collins and Jaylene Bermeo – innocent children who were shot while holding their parents’ hand or coloring on the sidewalk. Sadly, these are just public examples of a growing epidemic.

Which begs the question: Why? Why are cities like Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, and Chicago suffering through disastrous decade after disastrous decade at the hands of Democrat leaders? Why do we let this failed experiment in progressive political hegemony continue with no meaningful opposition? Why don’t the working poor rebel and demand better?

There are hints that Democrat dominance may not last forever. As Thomas Edsall writes for the New York Times:

Beginning with the administration of Lyndon Baines Johnson, African-American voters have provided Democrats with their margin of victory in elections at every level across the nation, year after year.

How have African-American voters been faring over all? Badly. The Democratic debt to black voters is immense, and the party has not paid up. …

These developments suggest that African-Americans living in poor neighborhoods cannot rely on Democratic leaders to take the decisive steps needed to ameliorate the problem as long as the Democratic Party can take the black vote for granted.

The question, then, is how long can Democratic Party leaders and candidates continue to rely on African-American voters before African-American voters take matters into their own hands — just as white working-class Republican voters have done this year.

Of course, for any of this to matter Republicans must be perceived to provide a worthwhile alternative to the problems that plague America’s cities. Republicans, led by Paul Ryan’s anti-poverty agenda, are taking steps toward providing a different, better path for America’s downtrodden. And sadly, it’s a low bar to clear.

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/12/heres_the_proof_democrat_policies_fail.html

December 19, 2017

Here’s the proof: Democrat policies fail

By Rich Logis

Democrat policies are guaranteed to fail, and they have long achieved – and continue to achieve – the statism desired by the vast majority of Democrat voters nationally.

Here are the top 20 cities with the highest murder rates in the U.S., per capita:

Of these, every city except the last one, Tulsa, has a Democrat majority in the mayoralty and City Council/Board of Aldermen.

Here’s the non-fatal shootings top 20.

Notice the overlap of several cities.  The cities on the non-fatal list absent on the murder list are also Democrat-run cities, except for the last one, Jacksonville.

Here are five longtime Democrat empires (all days are consecutive and uninterrupted):

  1. St. Louis: only Democrat mayors; 90% Democrat City Council; 15,000 days.
  2. Baltimore: only Democrat mayors and only Democrat City Council; 18,000 days.
  3. Philadelphia: only Democrat mayors; 90% Democrat City Council; 20,000 days.
  4. Detroit: only Democrat mayors; 90% Democrat City Council; 22,000 days.
  5. And the great Democrat beacon on the hill, Chicago: only Democrat mayors; 90% Democrat City Council; 30,000 days.

The Democrats have ruled Chicago for longer than Stalin ruled the USSR, the Castros in Cuba, and the Kims in North Korea, and for longer than slavery was legal in the U.S.

The great cover-up

These are America’s top 10 most violent cities, according to FBI data.  Violent crimes include homicides, gun violence, gangs, pedophilia, and robberies.

Every city is majority Democrat-controlled.  Several of the cities on the FBI’s list also appear on the murder and non-fatal shootings lists.  Because the FBI’s ranking is per capita, several cities such as Chicago and Newark (only Democrat mayors; 90% City Council; 23,000 days) are absent.

Why hasn’t any of this information been plastered 24/7 across the front pages and television screens of the DMIC – the Democrat Media Industrial Complex?  Why haven’t President Obama, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and U.S. senator Bernard Sanders spent even one minute addressing this?

They haven’t because they aid and abet the cover-up by the Democratic Party and the DMIC.  Of all the Democrat and DMIC cover-ups, their indisputably failed policies is their most egregious.

Donald Trump was the only national GOP candidate who attacked this topic; undoubtedly, it helped him in his stunning presidential victory.  Even though he didn’t win cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, and St. Louis, he did win their respective states.

The issue is never the issue

The Democrat politicians, well versed in the tactics of Rules for Radicals author, Saul Alinsky (from Chicago, naturally), know that easily duped Democrat voters will be convinced into believing that these failures are somehow the fault of everyone except Democrats.

The Democrat “issue” is that more government is necessary, and the police are covert white supremacists prowling the streets to prey upon black men.  I’ll bet you the $1 million Colin Kaepernick is getting for his book deal that he knows not a single piece of data cited in this post.

The actual issue, though, rooted in facts and reality – arch-enemies of Democrats – is that decades of one-party policies have contributed to family breakdowns, career criminals, problems with the police, failing schools, and inter-generational familial poverty.

Those most victimized by these policies, sadly, are our youth.  As they age into adults, too many continue the vicious circle, which goes on and on.

Using the 80-20 principle, and attributing 20% of these cities’ problems to factors outside their municipal lines, ask yourself: are tens of thousands of consecutive days enough time to know if something doesn’t work?  Why is it that the residents of these cities continue to elect the same kind of people over and over again?  So much for “diversity.”

Remove the data from Democrat empires, and our national crime rate is much lower.

Next steps for Americans

Had Clinton been elected in 2016, it would have ushered in the Democrat hegemony over the entire nation, thanks to judicial activists who would have fast-tracked for illegal aliens the right to vote.

The election of President Trump was a vital first step, and it established a blueprint to defeat the Democrats (and the complicit Et Tu, Brute Republicans).  The Democrats will not fight for our youth and our cities.  We must continue taking the fight to them.

Rich Logis is the CEO of Logis Productions, Inc. and author of the upcoming book 10 Warning Signs Your Child is Becoming a Democrat

Posted in corruption, crime, culture and cycle of dependency, economic crisis, Puerto Rico economic crisis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FEMA proposes changes to building codes for Puerto Rico

 

https://www.elnuevodia.com/english/english/nota/femaproposeschangestobuildingcodes-2410648

FEMA proposes changes to building codes

The recommendations will be included in a report that FEMA Mitigation Assessment Team will publish this summer

Friday, March 30, 2018 – 8:33 AM

FEMA proposes changes to building codes (horizontal-x3)
The report is developed by the FEMA Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT), which carries out this work after each catastrophic event. (GFR Media)
After studying for months the impact of Hurricane Maria on buildings in Puerto Rico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will recommend that the Island adopt the 2018 International Building Codes (IBC).

Although the expectation is for the report to be published before June 1 – when the hurricane season 2018 begins – a FEMA official advanced to El Nuevo Día general findings and recommendations to be made to the state authorities.

“Our recommendation is to adopt the new (building) codes”, said Andrew Martin, FEMA mitigation consultant for the recovery following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, in referring to the International Building Code (IBC) of 2018.

“In general terms, we are going to see some changes, such as in the recommendations of chemicals and types of materials for the concrete that is used, and recommendations for protection against the speed of winds in particular locations”, he added.

The report is developed by the FEMA Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT), which carries out this work after each catastrophic event.

“(The report) highlights all the things we saw across the island, good and bad, and makes recommendations on how to improve in the future, and ensure a better preparation for a next major event”, Martin explained.

“After the storm, we visited many parts of the island. We looked at different types of buildings to see how they reacted to risks, be it flood or wind. We observed many different things”, Martin said.

The team performs the engineering analysis to see the damage to government facilities, homes, businesses and other structures, and determine the causes for the structures to fail or resist.

After Maria, they also evaluated hospitals, schools, shelters, power generation plants, water treatment plants and municipal buildings.

The main problems

Among the most frequent damages found in affected structures, Martin highlighted corrosion problems in “connectors and parts of structures”.

“There are two causes for that. One is the passing of time. The other is that when it was built, things that could have been used to prevent corrosion were not included”, explained the advisor.

They also observed that most of the damage responded to the fact that the security and protection systems of windows and doors “were not applied uniformly in residential, commercial and industrial structures”. They also found mixed results in “rooftop systems”.

On these two aspects, architect Astrid Diaz, who collaborates with the MAT, indicated that “most of the damage was caused by the water that went into the structures, through doors or windows, and by existing problems with the waterproofing of roofs “in many buildings”.

In addition, Diaz said that “a lot of mechanical equipment”, located on the roofs of buildings, was “seriously affected by the winds,” which interrupted their operations within those structures.

This situation affected communications, for example. After the hurricane, there was communication only with 11 of the 300 police stations and with four hospitals, explained Díaz.

“The critical infrastructure of the Island is not just the posts … it includes the buildings that offer basic services, such as hospitals, police, firefighters and schools … Many are located in places that are not adequate. They are in flood-prone areas, in areas that are going to be isolated if another hurricane strikes “, said the architect.

On the other hand, Martin emphasized the need to “improve” the maps of risk areas.

“That includes floods, where the worst winds are going to be and which areas are more susceptible to landslides, so we avoid building in vulnerable areas in the future”,  Martin said.

FEMA official said that his work team collaborated with the Planning Board in updating the maps of flood-prone areas.

Positive findings

Among the positive findings, the MAT found that the homes built in response to Hurricane Georges in 1988 “did well” and that the cyclone winds were resisted by most of the houses built under the current building code, known as the Puerto Rico Building Code-2011, which responds to the International Building Code -2009.

However, Martin said that the MAT study concluded that it is necessary to make changes to the current code. The Office of Permit Management (OGPe, Spanish acronym) has already recruited several professional organizations to evaluate amendments to the building code, a process that was already being considered before the cyclone.

He commented that he will make recommendations about “the materials, the level of protection in construction and how to build certain items so that the roofing systems are properly integrated into the rest of the structure”.

But what draws the most attention is the issue of protection against the winds. Martin said that the MAT will recommend increasing the resistance against winds of greater intensity than the current code, which has a minimum speed of 145 miles per hour.

“The IBC-2108 makes recommendations for wind speeds for different types of structures, such as office buildings, commercial, residential, utility posts and schools. For some types of infrastructure, the wind resistance recommendation will increase and in others it will stay the same”, Martin said.

Hurricane Maria entered through Yabucoa as category 4, with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour.

However, Martin said that some readings in the mountainous area, such as in Lares, recorded gusts between 200 and 215 miles. “So when mountains are close, winds get tighter and go faster. That leads us to understand what those areas are and see if they are being built properly”, he said.

Martin said the recommendations for wind resistance in the new code “is between 150 and 200 miles per hour for Puerto Rico.”

Meanwhile, engineer Luis Aponte, professor at the Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), and who is also part of the MAT, said that the minimum resistance to winds will increase for some areas, according to the new IBC code, which is based on the most recent code of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

“It will be 170 miles per hour for the most critical areas”, said Aponte. “We will increase the loads and it will result in the elements being more resistant”.

Caution with amendments

According to the president of the College of Engineers and Surveyors of Puerto Rico (CIAPR, Spanish acronym), Pablo Vazquez Ruiz, it is necessary to be cautious about the increase in the resistance of the winds. He considers that the current code has been effective, so he believes that raising the requirements could have consequences contrary to the desired.

“Structural technicians have to learn from the experience of these hurricanes, but it is not just adopting everything that the new code provides”, he said. “We all agree with the revision, because the current one is nine years old (dating from the IBC-2009), but we have to see which part to adopt and with what amendments”.

“The experience we have is that the greatest destruction was in informal construction. The structure of the houses that were in accordance with the current code did not suffer major damages”, he added.

Vazquez Ruiz warned that increasing the resilience of new structures will mean “higher costs in construction, at a time of economic difficulty and will be more expensive for the people who are trying to recover”.

“The delay (in the release) of funds is leading people to rebuild informally, with what they have, and if more costs are added, it will be difficult to have a better structure”, he said.

In that sense, he was hopeful about a bill that he is working on with a legislator –whose name he did not mention- to provide engineers and architects assistance to people who cannot pay for these services.

“Soon it will be announced, but it is the kind of aid that citizens need to avoid informal construction and so that we have less damage when another hurricane strikes. That is going to be very important”, he said.

Posted in Hurricane Maria and after effects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
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