The death toll from Hurricane Maria has risen to 48 in Puerto Rico, the territory’s Department of Public Safety said. Saturday.
Puerto Ricans still face a daily struggle for food, water and other necessities while coping with the devastation to their homes and businesses more than three weeks after the powerful hurricane slammed ashore on the US commonwealth.
Among the recent deaths was a patient unable to get to dialysis treatment on time, and another person complaining of chest pains died after bad road conditions delayed a trip to the hospital, the department said.
The number of deaths may rise, with scores of people unaccounted for after last month’s hurricane.
Thousands have fled Puerto Rico since Maria hit September 20. But for the millions remaining the hunt for basic necessities is never-ending.
More than 1.2 million people are without potable water. Some people line up daily to fill up buckets with water from tank trucks, while others collect water from mountain streams.
Power outrages are widespread. Nearly 85% of the island lacks electricity, according to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. Many communities remain cut off, with roads blocked and no phone service.
About 19,000 civilian and military personnel are supporting the federal relief mission, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Army Corps of Engineers is installing power generators and temporary roofs to damaged structures.
FEMA approved a $70 million assistance package for the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority for emergency repairs.