Operation Blessing / Flickr Restoring Safe Water in Puerto Rico...
Operation Blessing / Flickr

If there was any question that Donald Trump’s administration doesn’t really want America to know what’s happening in Puerto Rico, the Washington Post’s Jenna Johnson reports:

As of Wednesday, half of Puerto Ricans had access to drinking water and 5 percent of the island had electricity, according to statistics published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on its Web page documenting the federal response to Hurricane Maria.

By Thursday morning, both of those key metrics were no longer on the Web page.

FEMA spokesman William Booher noted that both measures are still being reported on a website maintained by the office of Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, www.status.pr. According to that website, which is in Spanish, 9.2 percent of the island now has power and 54.2 percent of residents have access to drinking water. Booher said that these measures are also shared in news conferences and media calls that happen twice a day, but he didn’t elaborate on why they are no longer on the main FEMA page.

Booher told the Post that although the stats had been wiped from FEMA’s site, they were still “readily available.” Elsewhere, and in Spanish. Meaning large swaths of the country couldn’t access the information if they tried. In the meantime, other helpful stats are now jazzing up FEMA’s site.

The statistics that are on the FEMA page, as of Thursday afternoon, include these: There are now 14,000 federal workers on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, up from 12,300 earlier in the week. All airports, federally maintained ports and post offices are open. More than 30 miles of roadway have been cleared, up from about 20 miles earlier in the week. About 65 percent of grocery stores have reopened, along with nearly all hospitals and dialysis centers.

Most of those numbers provide no measure of how actual people in Puerto Rico are faring. But hey, there’s a lot of federal workers there and things are open, so the federal government must really be doing a great job, right?

Not from FEMA’s site:

95 percent of Puerto Rico still doesn’t have power.

As of Wednesday, only 14 of Puerto Rico’s hospitals had electricity, while 51 were “degraded” and in need of generators for power.

The hospitals are still in total triage mode and some have indeed shut down due to lack of power.

Two weeks after Hurricane Maria ravaged this island, doctors and nurses are still in nonstop triage, working furiously to save lives and ease pain while struggling to contend with power outages, hospital evacuations, dwindling supplies and even crime outside their doors.

“The hospitals are still in crisis,” said Dr. Ubaldo Santiago, director of emergency services for several San Juan hospitals and clinics. “Many are still working on generators. It’s tough, and the doctors are giving their maximum.” […]

In other areas of the island, some hospitals have essentially shut down, stuck without the diesel fuel needed to run generators or the ability to communicate with doctors and staff members.

But don’t go looking to FEMA for a dose of realism. It’s all sunshine and unicorns over there.
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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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