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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:11 am 
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I've gone ahead and made a separate thread for this as the hurricanes are long past and there is a crisis of epic proportions emerging, especially in PR where a week later 95% of the island is without power and likely will be for 3-6 months. This is turning in to a case study of what happens (or does not happen) when the government provided resources are insufficient to deal with the disaster at hand.

Literally everything has gone wrong at once.

Food and Water:
There is no potable water available for the vast majority of the population. People are drawing unclean water and have no way of treating it for the most part. Food is running out in the more remote areas and the road system is too badly damaged to deliver more. Some gets in by air but it is haphazard. Getting water plants on line and fixing roads will be months/ years long endeavor. US citizens may be facing starvation for the first time in maybe a century. To make matters worse nearly the entire crop that was planted for local produce was lost.

Medical Care:
PR has about 70 hospitals and in-patient clinics. The more remote ones are not getting fuel supplies to run generators. People have died/ are dying from lack of ventilators, lack of dialysis, insulin and other energy based drugs and treatments.

Shelter:
80-90% of homes on the island are without a roof. Much of the State and municipal infrastructure was destroyed as well.

Security:
Police are over taxed and PR has strict gun control. This year has been especially tumultuous due to the financial situation, although most of the riots, protests and strikes were scantly reported in the mainland. If riots extend to the current disaster it will get out of hand very fast.

There is the usual criticism from the usual pol players that the response has been inadequate. Well I shit you not but Puerto Rico is actually an island in the ocean several days travel from US ports and not a short drive away from a disaster free area. the United States simply does not have the resources to provide an "adequate response".

25% of US drug exports world wide come from PR. Close to half the prescription drugs consumed in the US are made there. Currently we on the mainland are facing a shortage of Saline. With all factories idle PR currently has no exports and therefore on GDP or way to generate income for the island.

Things are going to get worse before they get better.


A large article:
https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/ ... ghts-facts

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environm ... ll-service

https://www.wsj.com/articles/baxter-say ... 1506545326

http://secure.marketwatch.com/story/hur ... atest_news

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/20 ... 703071001/

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:14 am 
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A shortage of truck drivers and passable roads are preventing supplies from reaching towns in PR

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:52 am 
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I have spent time in PR and will sum up my opinion of the area.

Picture 3 million+/- people with the starting infrastructure about equal to a NOLA type dysfunctional environment. So similar dysfunction but on a 6x scale of population.

Then place it 1,000 miles +/- by water or air from Miami.
So everything has to be either flown in and/or shipped into PR over a distance of 1,000 miles.

None of the ports are very large by US standards and the road network is damaged.

I have heard from friends that they are looking at the ex-NAS Rosy Roads as a key new port for the needed effort.
The US Navy has already deployed assets including a hospital ship. However, this is going to get worse a lot more before it gets better.

Southwest Airlines has just started serving the airport in San Juan until today and all the flights are booked for the week or so.
https://www.southwest.com/flight/select ... Only=&int=

In this case SWA is a great air bridge asset for cargo and removing people in need of evacuation.


More news feeds.
https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2017/09/28/pue ... loans.html

This story is interesting. Credit card processing is down/in op and actually many of the merchants preferred cash anyway. So there is a run on banks for cash for everyday items.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/now-even-mon ... 43386.html

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:22 pm 
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Another article.

Aid, lots of aid has arrived. It is stuck in the Port of San Juan waiting on truck drivers who cannot be ocntacted to take it over broken roads.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/27/us/puerto ... index.html

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

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:43 pm 
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raptor wrote:
Another article.

Aid, lots of aid has arrived. It is stuck in the Port of San Juan waiting on truck drivers who cannot be ocntacted to take it over broken roads.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/27/us/puerto ... index.html

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


That is the same article AirBallad posted above, it bears repeating though.

There are several lessons there. Companies that are involved in a critical transportation infrastructure node need to have adequate communications and back up communications in place. With over 90% of cell service out and no time line for getting it restored the breakdown is having a domino effect. I am willing to bet there are plenty of drivers who would like nothing better than to distribute relief supplies but they don't know where to go or what to to do. Over reliance on cell phone service has been proven time and again to be a real hindrance in bad disasters.

Then there is the question of the roads. Our state just sent a reconnaissance air craft from the National Guard to make assessments. If things are so bad that they have to send aircraft then things are dire indeed.

I am willing to bet the military is going to end up sending huge numbers of helicopters (and paying a fortune) to deliver supplies in the short run. Otherwise the situation will continue to decline rapidly. They will have to be Navy choppers too. It would take the Army a month to get there if they started today.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:58 pm 
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I should also mention that the governor is making loud noises about low interest loans to help with the recovery. PR was in default prior to the hurricane so the response has been less than enthusiastic. With bad and uncertain prospects for the economy things are looking bad on that front too. Low interest loans are likely an impossibility as PR debt is currently near junk bond status.

Small politics: In 1976 Ford implemented a tax haven for PR which built up the economy of PR giving it the highest income in Latin America/ Caribbean. In 1993 Clinton decided that corporations were evading too many taxes by making things in PR and phased out the tax breaks which caused a major decline in the economy and negative population growth as the more well off left the island in search of new prospects. After the recession PR never really recovered.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:27 am 
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More bad news for PR - they are expecting heavy rain this weekend and are under a flash flood watch.

A 3-Star has been put in charge of relief operations but I am unsure if this is enough. Disaster relief is not sexy and does not draw top brass like things going boom

This article gives a good roundup:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/29/us/puerto ... index.html

Some snips for the preparedness minded:

Quote:
At least half of all bank branches remain shuttered as they can't get enough armored trucks with gas, or truck drivers, to deliver the cash safely.

New York and South Carolina sent law enforcement officers and National Guard members to Puerto Rico, officials said.

Nearly 1 million meals and about 2 million liters of water have been handed out as of Thursday, according to FEMA.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:49 pm 
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Stercutus wrote:

Disaster relief is not sexy and does not draw top brass like things going boom


I cannot imagine why?

Things never, ever go as planned.

Even when there is success, people second guess every decision.

Every "f" up the in area that went unfixed for decades is now your problem and potentially even your fault.

There are unlimited wants and desires with limited capacity so any decision regarding resources and allocation thereof will be wrong in someone's opinion.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:10 pm 
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Here instead of current events as it goes into details and lessons learned. I thought it was a worthy read.

http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/puerto- ... f-09282017

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:40 am 
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Maast wrote:
Here instead of current events as it goes into details and lessons learned. I thought it was a worthy read.

http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/puerto- ... f-09282017


Great write up.

That said PR main problem at this point is internal land based logistics.

NOLA faced similar issues due the long lasting flooding which restricted access. That said PR's population is 6x NOLA and 10x geography. In NOLA it was possible to evacuate people a short distance to safety. Here the supply line is 1,000 miles.

The Jones Act he mentioned is IMO not really an issue because of the lack of port facilities outside of San Juan.
Ports on the west and south side of the island are not well connected by road and lack any intermodal infrastructure.

Short term the only answer to logistics is aircraft until they can get the roads open. In PR there are many streams that flow out of the mountains to the coast. these streams damaged roadways, which means heavy equipment is required to repair them.

It took NOLA about 6 months to get back to quasi operational, not fixed but schools open and businesses functioning. I have not a clue as to how much time PR will need but regardless of what resources are thrown at the problem they are looking at months of issues at a minimum.

My advice to anyone with family there is simple Southwest Airlines is back operating several flights a day back to the US. SWA ASAP would be my suggestion.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:58 pm 
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This thread is a good read. Thank you everyone for contributing.

This thread has made me wonder about what I would do if the disaster took all my preps. I have me insurance & E-fund, but what to do in the mean time. Other than availing myself to non/barely existent Gov't/NGO aid.

Has this been covered in previously?

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:55 pm 
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Check out the "Now You are a Refugee" thread.

This one would be difficult for anyone. The fuel issue is a real problem even for the well prepared.

That is why I suggested bugging out via SWA. If you have the resources and insurance why hang around to swelter in the heat. PR in the best of times can also be dangerous. Being elsewhere would be a better plan especially if your insurance covered living expenses due to damage.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:57 pm 
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While flying away and/or sailing away are good options if available not everyone has the resources to do so. If you are stuck there being forced to make a go of it life is going to suck badly for the foreseeable future. This is why I always ask when people are preparing what they are prearranging for, what kind of resources they have and what their strategy is. A bailout bag and 72 hours worth of food would have limited usefulness in this scenario.

A tabletop gallon sized water filter, six months of stored food, a number of quality yard tools and a shotgun would make a huge difference here.

Here is an interesting article with some discussion of post storm security:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/02/us/p ... crime.html

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:57 pm 
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I found these links poking 'round ye olde interwebbies:

Financial Disaster Prep

Post-Disaster Financial Checklist

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:48 pm 
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Article from today's NYTimes on beleaguered Puerto Ricans employing survival skills as their misery drags on. It's worth a read to see how ordinary people cope in a (relatively speaking) long term disaster.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/24/us/hurricane-maria-puerto-rico-coping.html?hpw&rref=us&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

Interestingly there isn't a lot in there that I'd consider true "survival" skills, it's more of the sharing scarce resources/making do with limited/no electricity sort of thing. Not that I'd want their situation to get any more dire, but it would have been interesting to read about people making swamp coolers to ward off the heat, or improvising solar cookers to make a hot meal.

If nothing else, the article vindicates the value of having things like camp stoves, generators and ample fuel reserves on hand.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:12 pm 
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majorhavoc wrote:
Article from today's NYTimes on beleaguered Puerto Ricans employing survival skills as their misery drags on. It's worth a read to see how ordinary people cope in a (relatively speaking) long term disaster.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/24/us/hurricane-maria-puerto-rico-coping.html?hpw&rref=us&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

Interestingly there isn't a lot in there that I'd consider true "survival" skills, it's more of the sharing scarce resources/making do with limited/no electricity sort of thing. Not that I'd want their situation to get any more dire, but it would have been interesting to read about people making swamp coolers to ward off the heat, or improvising solar cookers to make a hot meal.

If nothing else, the article vindicates the value of having things like camp stoves, generators and ample fuel reserves on hand.

Not to sound snotty or superior . Do you think the writer would recognize a improvised swamp cooler or solar cooker if they saw one?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:15 pm 
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majorhavoc wrote:
Article from today's NYTimes on beleaguered Puerto Ricans employing survival skills as their misery drags on. It's worth a read to see how ordinary people cope in a (relatively speaking) long term disaster.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/24/us/hurricane-maria-puerto-rico-coping.html?hpw&rref=us&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

Interestingly there isn't a lot in there that I'd consider true "survival" skills, it's more of the sharing scarce resources/making do with limited/no electricity sort of thing. Not that I'd want their situation to get any more dire, but it would have been interesting to read about people making swamp coolers to ward off the heat, or improvising solar cookers to make a hot meal.

If nothing else, the article vindicates the value of having things like camp stoves, generators and ample fuel reserves on hand.


That is a good article. Thanks for sharing.

BTW when I was in PR I was warned often to avoid the mountain streams and any unprocessed water due to the wide spread contamination caused by leptospirosis. The number of these cases are starting to rise.
http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/24/health/le ... index.html


Honestly having been through post hurricane misery (Betsy, Camille & Katrina) I have a lot of sympathy for these folks. That said the miserable part is the heat, mosquitoes and lack of basic comforts. But the worst part really is the uncertainty of how long the conditions will last. In my case I knew within a month basic services would be restored. In the case of PR a year is more likely the norm.

Still there are some similarities as far a I am concerned.

Quote:
Lorel Cubano, the director of a local nonprofit, said most of the aid the neighborhood had received was from private citizens and celebrities like Mr. Fonsi. “The government hasn’t arrived here,” she said.


It makes no difference where you are. Assistance for me always came in the form of friends, family, church and to limited extent local neighbors. I always repaid any help I received at least on a 1 to 1 basis and I tried to repay the assistance on a greater than 1 to 1 basis.

In many ways in the article you see the people trying help each other. That is the real answer.


Here is a darker perspective however:

Can you imagine what would happen another major city in the CONUS after a month of being deprived of power and cell phone/internet/social media?

I am not sure what drive the more nuts no power or not internet/cell phone /social media.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:39 pm 
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From CNBC: White House wants Congress to boost disaster aid, cut spending elsewhere
Quote:
White House wants Congress to boost disaster aid, cut spending elsewhere

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney expects total hurricane damages to add up to "several tens of billions of dollars."

Congress should "consider reducing spending elsewhere in order to offset...a significant amount of unbudgeted spending," Mulvaney said in a letter.

The Office of Management and Budget created a preliminary list of more than $5.5 billion in potential cuts, according to Mulvaney.

Published 21 Hours Ago Reuters

The White House plans to ask the U.S. Congress for a third round of disaster aid in mid-November as the costs continue to pour in for helping rebuild after hurricanes, but Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has told lawmakers he wants to see spending cuts elsewhere.

Mulvaney said the federal government is assessing how much it will cost to help Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands rebuild after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused massive damages in August and September.

Mulvaney expects the damages to add up to "several tens of billions of dollars," he said in a letter to Senate Leader Mitch McConnell dated Tuesday.

"As we move toward the longer-term issue of rebuilding the impacted areas of our nation, we believe that it is appropriate that the Congress consider reducing spending elsewhere in order to offset what will, again, be a significant amount of unbudgeted spending," Mulvaney said in the letter.

President Donald Trump is slated to receive a briefing on hurricane recovery efforts later on Wednesday in Dallas, where he is attending fundraising events.

The Office of Management and Budget has drawn up a preliminary list of more than $5.5 billion in unspent funds that could be cut, Mulvaney said in a separate letter to lawmakers on Senate and House appropriations committees.

The list includes $4.3 billion from an Energy Department loan program for advanced technology vehicle manufacturing and almost $730 million in funds no longer needed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for projects related to Hurricane Sandy recovery, Mulvaney said.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:43 pm 
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Quote:
Can you imagine what would happen another major city in the CONUS after a month of being deprived of power and cell phone/internet/social media?


Those that could would leave for better environs.



It seems the PR power company gave a $300M no bid contract for rebuilding the island's power infrastructure to a small contractor with no experience in PR to a buddy of Trump and the US Secretary of the Interior. No matter who they gave the contract to the losers would have been upset but seems to grate on the local pols quite a bit.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/monta ... le/2638412

Smells awfully bad. If enough questions get raised this may end up slowing down the work.

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Stercutus wrote:
Quote:
Can you imagine what would happen another major city in the CONUS after a month of being deprived of power and cell phone/internet/social media?


Those that could would leave for better environs.



It seems the PR power company gave a $300M no bid contract for rebuilding the island's power infrastructure to a small contractor with no experience in PR to a buddy of Trump and the US Secretary of the Interior. No matter who they gave the contract to the losers would have been upset but seems to grate on the local pols quite a bit.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/monta ... le/2638412

Smells awfully bad. If enough questions get raised this may end up slowing down the work.


Heard about this yesterday, finally read a couple articles today. Sounds very fishy to me, start up with 2 people, got a no bid contract to rebuild the power supply of PR. Wreaks of Halliburton in Iraq.

Some good news is that Tesla did bring power back to a children's hospital

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2 ... childrens/

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Halfapint wrote:
Stercutus wrote:
Quote:
Can you imagine what would happen another major city in the CONUS after a month of being deprived of power and cell phone/internet/social media?


Those that could would leave for better environs.



It seems the PR power company gave a $300M no bid contract for rebuilding the island's power infrastructure to a small contractor with no experience in PR to a buddy of Trump and the US Secretary of the Interior. No matter who they gave the contract to the losers would have been upset but seems to grate on the local pols quite a bit.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/monta ... le/2638412

Smells awfully bad. If enough questions get raised this may end up slowing down the work.


Heard about this yesterday, finally read a couple articles today. Sounds very fishy to me, start up with 2 people, got a no bid contract to rebuild the power supply of PR. Wreaks of Halliburton in Iraq.

Some good news is that Tesla did bring power back to a children's hospital

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2 ... childrens/
Crony capitalism. :( Good onto Tesla.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:00 pm 
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Just saw a document was leaked about the whitefish consulting contract. It has language in it that forbids, yes forbids, any sort of oversight of how they spend the money. There have now been multiple inquires started in different parts of the government from the house, senate to justice department. Should be very interesting about this.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administrat ... iting-deal

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From NPR: Ex-Air Force Officer To Oversee Puerto Rico's Power Restoration
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Ex-Air Force Officer To Oversee Puerto Rico's Power Restoration October 26, 20171:36 AM ET By Scott Neuman

Updated at 2:10 a.m. ET (Thursday, October 26th, 2017)

A retired senior military officer has been appointed to oversee the rebuilding of Puerto Rico's devastated power grid in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, as some three-quarters of the island's residents remain without electricity.

In a written statement on Wednesday, the federal board that oversees Puerto Rico's troubled finances announced its "intent to appoint" retired Air Force Colonel Noel Zamot "as chief transformation officer" of PREPA, the island's power utility.

"I am fully committed to bringing the resources necessary to restore electricity to the people of Puerto Rico as quickly as possible, and to re-activate the economy and bring normalcy to the island," Zamot said in a statement.

But Reuters reports, quoting a source familiar with [Puerto Rican] Gov. Ricardo Rosselló's thinking, as saying that the territory's government is not happy about Zamot's appointment.

And in a public statement, Rosselló appeared to chafe at the board's move, saying it had overstepped its authority in making the appointment.

The governor said management of island agencies "rests exclusively on democratically elected officials."

"Puerto Rico will be zealous in defending the people from any action that seeks to undermine this process," Rosselló said in a Spanish-language statement.

Zamot's appointment would come amid concern over a $300 million contract issued by the island's power utility, PREPA, to Whitefish Energy Holdings to lead the restoration effort. Whitefish Energy — a tiny firm with few resources and little experience — is based in Whitefish, Mont., the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

On Wednesday, Rosselló tweeted out a letter he wrote asking for an audit into how the company won its contract.

Addressed to the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general's office, Rosselló wrote: "I request that your office complete its review of the Whitefish Contract so that a final determination can be made as to the Whitefish Contract and address any other issues regarding the same by Monday, October 30, 2017."

The controversy over Whitefish Energy continues to boil, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday praising Zamot's appointment, but expressing suspicion over the Whitefish contract.

"We are deeply concerned both about why and how a small, inexperienced firm was tasked with the massive job of rebuilding Puerto Rico's devastated electrical grid, and why (Puerto Rico's power company) failed to activate the mutual aid network, which effectively came to the aid of Texas and Florida after the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma," the California Democrat said in a statement.

The company — which had only two full-time employees as recently as last month — engaged in a heated back-and-forth on Wednesday with San Juan's outspoken Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz via Twitter. Cruz called for more transparency over the company's contract and Whitefish Energy, in turn, issued an implied threat to pull its workforce.

In a tweet since deleted, Whitefish fired back: "We've got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived. Do you want us to send them back or keep working?"

Later, the company issued an apology, saying the comments "did not represent who we are and how important this work is to help Puerto Rico's recovery."

_________________
Matthew Paul Malloy
Veteran: USAR, USA, IAANG.

Dragon Savers!
Golden Dragons!
Tropic Lightning!
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