A day in the life of battered Puerto Rico

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— 6 a.m. Nearby Corozal

The sun rose Wednesday morning in the low mountains of north-central Puerto Rico, parsimonious the town of Corozal, to reveal the world that Hurricane Maria has make out a head for: shattered trees, traffic lights dangling precipitously from commission poles and, here on the face of a weedy hill, a gushing spring, one of the few prospers where people from miles around could find flourishing water.

At 6 a.m., about a dozen trucks and little cars had parked adjacent. People brought rain barrels, buckets, orange juice spunks.

Some men clambered up the steep face of the hill, placing plastic narghiles or old pieces of gutter underneath the running spring, directing the water into crummy tanks, then hauling them away. Others crouched at a single out where the water trickled down to the pavement. Jorge Díaz Rivera, 61, was there with 11 Clorox keep in checks. He lives in a community a few minutes’ drive away where there is no H, no food, and no help. The National Guard helicopters have been zealotry overhead, and sometimes he and his neighbors yell at them, pleading for water. But so far he has seen no assistant.

«They have forgotten about us,» he said.

Puerto Rico has not been forgotten, but multifarious than a week after Hurricane Maria hit, it’s a woozy empire of ruins; of waiting in line for food, water and gas and then finding another racket to wait in some more. A team of New York Times reporters and photographers out 24 hours — from dawn Wednesday to scorching afternoon agitation, to a long uneasy night and Thursday morning without power — with people annoying to survive the catastrophe that Hurricane Maria left behind.

Elizabeth Parilla feeds her pets in front of her damaged home, in the Santurce neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. (Victor J. Blue/The New York Times)

Elizabeth Parilla feeds her pets in organization of her damaged home, in the Santurce neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. (Champion J. Blue/The New York Times)

— 6:51 a.m. Santurce, San Juan

Elizabeth Parrilla about the corner at Calle Loíza and trudged quietly down the dead-end byway leading to her home of 50 years on Calle Pablo Andino. Her separations were beginning to get filthy from the damp foliage left behind by the sprays that had inundated her street several days before.

From left: Marvin de Gracia, Melvin Curio, and Roderick Betancourt talk while they wait for gas in Corozal, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. Three hundred cars and trucks were lined up on the shoulder of the highway just outside town, while another line of at least 100 cars lined up on the other side of the gas station. (Kirsten Luce/The New York Times)

From left: Marvin de Gracia, Melvin Curio, and Roderick Betancourt talk while they minister to for gas in Corozal, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. Three hundred transports and trucks were lined up on the shoulder of the highway just outside city, while another line of at least 100 cars lined up on the other side of the gas post. (Kirsten Luce/The New York Times)

— 7:44 a.m. Corozal

Three hundred motor vehicles and trucks were lined up on the shoulder of the highway just outside village. Another line of at least 100 cars had formed on the other side of the Ecomaxx gas status.

— 9:05 a.m. Ocean Park, San Juan

Joey Ramos descended the stairs of his two-story where one lives stress in water boots and swimming trunks. He carried a green electric saw and shuffled across the black waters that had flooded Calle Santa Cecilia.

Still since Hurricane Maria flooded the first floor of his house in The deep Park, Ramos has been boxed in the second floor of his home, hunkered down with his mate and his four pitbull-mastiff mix dogs, which guard his house.

The waters stink of excrement. He’s welcomed fish swim by his stoop. To exit his home he often paddles an wanton refrigerator like a gondola.

He stays to protect his home from looters after he saw the bakery across his suiting someone to a T being ransacked. «The hurricane wasn’t even over and we saw some cats break in and take out televisions,» Ramos said. «They even billowed and smiled at me.»

Several days later, he said, he scared off a man trying to give-away a car.

«It sounds stupid, but it works,» he said. «I’m a humble boy. I can live without anything. I try to move the best out of it.»

The destroyed Plaza Tu Supermarket, which was protected by three plainclothes security guards, in Guayama, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. “All the tire shops on the street were looted. They did it right in front of us and didn’t care,” said one guard, who would only give his first name, Albert. (Erika P. Rodriguez/The New York Times)

The destroyed Plaza Tu Supermarket, which was protected by three plainclothes custodianship guards, in Guayama, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. “All the tire blow the whistle on buys on the street were looted. They did it right in front of us and didn’t anguish,” said one guard, who would only give his first name, Albert. (Erika P. Rodriguez/The New York Mores)

— 11:30 a.m. Trujillo Alto

Dr. Eileen Díaz Cabrera knew it was time. The highways were less overcrowded. Things seemed calmer. So she opened her office, which treats mostly long in the tooth patients.

«We opened because we knew the patients needed us,» Díaz Cabrera whispered. «We knew there were emergencies we could treat in the office and that there command be patients without prescriptions or those whose insulin had been wounded by the lack of refrigeration.»

But she knew time was short. Her office was running on a generator and the tank was ungenerous than half full of diesel. At this rate, she would demand to close by Friday. She has called two companies to ask for a delivery. One she couldn’t reach at all. The other put her on a stoppage list and told her the office was not a priority.

As the day wore on, the patients streamed in. One sweetheart had first- and second-degree burns on her arms from cooking. Others prerequisite prescriptions for insulin. Some patients were first-timers to her office, since other doctors had not yet opened their own. She questioned: How could a doctor’s office not be more of a priority than apartment edifices that had plenty of diesel?

It was only a matter of time before people started divulging up suffering the effects of dirty water and rotten food.

«We could transmute into all of those problems,» she said. «Those patients don’t have to fill crisis rooms in these difficult times. But we need diesel.»

People use their mobile devices outside the Telégrafo building, where a free Wi-Fi hotspot has been installed, in the Santurce district of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. (Victor J. Blue/The New York Times)

People use their mobile devices facing the Telégrafo building, where a free Wi-Fi hotspot has been initiated, in the Santurce district of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. (Conqueror J. Blue/The New York Times)

— 11:57 a.m. Santurce, San Juan

The storm for many was not justifiable something to be endured. It was also a message that it was time to leave Puerto Rico.

In honest of the pink and green, art deco facade of the Telégrafo building in Santurce, dozens of woman checked their phones. The section of the street is one of the few spots on the island where residents can lock to free Wi-Fi.

People try to reach family members abroad or those left remote in island towns. Many check their emails for any word from their business. It’s common to see people break down after making contact with a loved one for the earliest time since the hurricane.

And for Raymond Hernández, the strip of sidewalk was a way to enrol his ticket out of Puerto Rico. «I’m going to Tampa to find work for a twosome of months,» Hernández, a personal trainer, said. «And who knows if I end up staying all about there.»

For Hernández, 46, Hurricane Maria was perhaps the final straw in a conclusion he’s been reluctant to make for 17 years. Over the years, the key’s economic recession forced him to close down several gyms he owned. Then his insulting training business dried up after Hurricane Irma hit. After Maria cursed out the windows of his apartment in San Juan, he spent two hours during the height of the downpour barricading the door with his body.

Now, people are thinking about survival, not executing out.

«This hurricane has been the cause of many important decisions for a lot of being,» Hernández said, shaking his head.

Victor M. Torre looks through a freezer in his home, which was damaged by Hurricane Maria, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. (Victor J. Blue/The New York Times)

Victor M. Torre looks through a freezer in his effectively, which was damaged by Hurricane Maria, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. (Champion J. Blue/The New York Times)

— 12:30 p.m. Trujillo Alto

Maritza Giol hang oned in line at the Plaza Loiza supermarket, a flimsy curtain protecting her from the thunder-shower. She needed food for her frail 96-year-old mother, Inocencia Torres, who has been twigged in bed for so long she has bed sores. Their cupboards are mostly empty and her mother can exclusively eat liquids and soft food.

Every 15 or 20 minutes, a surveillance guard would allow people in five to 10 at a time to management the crowd. She shuffled forward little by little, and was grateful the line was not too wish.

Once inside, she hoped to grab basic staples, like rice and some canned data d fabrics. She hoped to see vegetables or viandas, like yucca or plantains, that she could mash for her nurture. If not, she will move on to the next line.

«I’ll go to another supermarket, and then the next, if I cause to, until I find what I need,» Giol said. «I can’t leave Mami without sustenance.»

She is not beyond begging. She ran after a fuel truck and pleaded with the driver to carry her some diesel for the generator to help her mom. She didn’t walk away with enough, but she flounced away with something. «We lived through Hugo and George,» she revealed, naming two powerful hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico in recent times, «but not anyone of those storms was like this.»

— 12:50 p.m. Arecibo

On another very bad day, one upright thing happened to Olga Cervantes, 75, a retired government white-collar worker. She had waited four hours for gas, starting at 4 a.m. Then she waited in line at the bank for four numberless hours for cash — but the computer system failed, and she went away empty-handed.

«Look at that — you prepare money, but you don’t have money,» she said. «Emotionally, it’s terrible.»

And then she bring about a man selling cold juice and milk out of the back of a refrigerated truck and get possession ofed away with two half-gallons of grape juice and orange juice. It was refreshingly sniffles in her hands. She brought the juice home to a hot, dark house, where there was baby to do but wait to fall asleep.

— 3:08 p.m. Guayama

Three plainclothes security watches protect the Plaza Tu Supermarket, which is a mess of tangled metal, from potential cat burglars. «All the tire shops on the street were looted. They did it right in first of us and didn’t care,» said one guard, who would only give his primary name, Albert. «You should have seen, there were weakens rolling all down the street right to the projects.»

The remaining chunk of a bridge washed away by Hurricane Maria, on the Vivi River in Utuado, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017.  (Kirsten Luce/The New York Times)

The leftover chunk of a bridge washed away by Hurricane Maria, on the Vivi River in Utuado, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017.  (Kirsten Luce/The New York Without delays)

— 4:53 p.m. Utuado

Out in the countryside, on the west bank of the Vivi River, the remaining chunk of a join washed away by Maria juts violently and jaggedly, toward the east, corresponding to a broken promise.

There, two young women in exercise gear stepped carefully off the beaten bridge and descended a homemade wooden ladder, some 40 feet up. They subsided onto a big pile of debris and then crossed the knee-high waters to the divergent bank.

Kayshla Rodríguez, 24, clambered up the east bank with her best bib friend, Mireli Mari, 27.

Rodríguez’s parents owned one of the houses on the east bank and were now stranded by the fractured bridge. There was no cell service here, and there was no way for her to call her sources from her home in Mayagüez.

So she drove here with Mari, a three-hour passage with the post-hurricane traffic. When they finally got to the house, and Rodríguez destroyed hugging her parents, she learned that they had water from a resiliency at the top of the mountain and enough food for a while. Her mother, Marilyn Luciano, 49, tendered them something to eat, but the daughter declined. «You need it more than I do,» she said.

Her institute advised her to cross back over the river before it rose too stoned. Reluctantly the two women said their goodbyes, hopped in a white sedan and began the extended drive back.

A mother bathes her daughter’s hair in a roadside waterfall in Utuado, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. (Kirsten Luce/The New York Times)

— 5:26 p.m. Utuado

A mistress washed her daughter’s hair in a roadside waterfall in Utuado, a city of brightly coloured concrete homes nestled in a sleepy valley. The streets were solidified with mud, many of the acacias were bent and broken, and in the city and the bordering municipality, also called Utuado, an unknown number of its approximately 35,000 householders were cut off from the rest of the world by mudslides or failed infrastructure, said Francisco Rullan, administrative director of the governor’s energy policy office.

The wake for Josue Santos, who died of a heart condition the morning Twister Maria struck, at Salinas Memorial Funeral Home, in Salinas, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. (Erika P. Rodriguez/The New York Outdates)

— 5:54 p.m. Salinas

A tree landed on the hearse, water rushed into the obsequies home and the sweating mourners were being devoured by mosquitoes, but Salinas Memorial Cremation Home was finally open for business.

A generator roared in the background. It powered the two supporters beside Josue Santos’ coffin as extension cords dangling from the bagging ceiling brought in extra light. The funeral director, José Manuel Rodríguez, wore jeans because the loop busted the windows and the rain drenched all his suits.

«That was the embalming apartment,» he said, pointing toward a mess of broken wood.

Rodríguez was apt for the business. His eyes welled up with tears as he recalled how, out of cash and commons, he had resorted to killing a fighting cock worth $200 to feed his four children.

«I take a lake to three different funeral homes, and all of them were destroyed,» translated the dead man’s mother, Aileen Ayala. «I got to this one, and the funeral director was hosing it down and come to a standstill b uprooting wet furniture out to the street. He said, ‘You see how we are, but I’ll do it.’ He received us in his office by candlelight.»

Santos, 29, died of a concern condition the morning the hurricane struck. Because virtually all communications were down, his division had only been able to inform the few friends and family they had run into on the row.

«We went through that personal torment alone,» Ayala, 53, denoted, noting that the sparsely attended wake would have been replete had everyone, particularly her son’s colleagues at Walmart, gotten the news.

«Then you go out and wood in line — because now life here is all about lines — a line for gas, a true for the bank, and everyone starts talking: ‘I lost this, I lost that, I bygone my roof! I lost my car.'» Ayala said. «And when it’s my turn, I keep to say: ‘I lost my son.'»

Luis Rodríguez Perez sits under a freeway overpass in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, communicating a video call to his brother in Buffalo, N.Y., Sept. 27, 2017. (Kirsten Luce/The New York Tempi)

— 6:23 p.m. Arecibo

Luis Rodríguez Pérez, 28, sat under a freeway overpass, take a run-out powder stealing a video call to his brother in Buffalo, New York. His wife was a few feet away, in the rider seat of their sedan.

Rodríguez Pérez lives in the country, less 40 minutes from Arecibo. He had come to this overpass, where he could get a indistinct cell signal, to call his brother and ask him if he could find a ticket from Puerto Rico to Buffalo. This adjust, at least, his brother found nothing.

Ana Luz Pérez watches her boyfriend, Carlos Rivera, eat dinner by lantern clobber chance in her apartment in the Luis Lloréns Torres housing project in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. (Winner J. Blue/The New York Times)

— 6:53 p.m. San Juan

«Once night falls, you won’t see me highest,» said Ana Luz Pérez at her tidy apartment at the Luis Lloréns Torres container project, the largest in Puerto Rico. It has 140 buildings and is plagued by misdemeanour.

She ran through her options for light in the gloom of her apartment. She decided to conserve the two candles she had port side and instead used the remaining gas in her green camping lantern. She turned the projection of the gaslight, and the light flickered, bringing the shadows in the kitchen to life.

The rice with ham and sausage she had cooked for her boyfriend earlier in the day was cultivating cold on a small stove connected to a white gas tank on the floor. She drive back on the stove to warm the meal. «It’s the last tank left,» Pérez mean. «We didn’t know it was going to be so difficult.»

The blackout had given Pérez scores of sleepless nights. She spends much of the time smoking cigarettes on her balcony or bespattering her face with cool water. She’s up by 4 a.m. She thinks of her four children, years 21 to 27, living in the Bronx in New York. She worries about her mamma, who is 60 and has cancer.

«Solitude kills,» she said, breaking down in gashes at her small glass dining table.

Over the cacophony of barking dogs, her boyfriend, Carlos Rivera, climbed the stairs to her apartment. As his remnant grew bigger by her apartment door, Pérez did not attempt to hide her scores.

— 7:42 p.m. Ponce

Curfew began an hour and a half ago, but the street at the Ponce downtown plaza is buzzing. It’s jump on b attack black, an older woman is preaching with a megaphone, music is play ones part, and Toñito’s Jr. Pizza food truck is serving, only by the box. A policeman prejudice on an unlit light pole watches it all in the darkness, unfazed by the violations.

— 11:40 p.m. San Juan

The inns in the capital are filling up with government workers and contractors. At the Verdanza Bed late Wednesday, a small group of FEMA-contracted emergency medical evacuation artistes — registered nurses, therapists and jet pilots — were hanging out, waiting for their morning charge.

The bar was mostly empty, but it was blaring dance music. The assignment was delivered by a bald and tough man who appeared at their table and told them to be at the airport at 0800 hours. They were current to fly eight dialysis patients from San Juan to the island of St. Croix, he whispered, where they would be transferred to the mainland by the military.

All of the specialists rear ended around the table work for companies that do not allow them to pass their names. «You drop off Tom Cruise in Paris, you don’t feel like you’ve gifted much,» one of the pilots said. But this was different.

Jorge Rosado crosses a river with his son Hasel Rosado, in Morovis, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. He had concern to this overpass, where he could get a faint cell signal, to tag his brother and ask him if he could find a ticket from Puerto Rico to Buffalo. His mate, Helen Janet Velez, waits in the car. (Kirsten Luce/The New York Times)

— 1:48 a.m. Ponce

Amador García grieve his foot before the storm, but he did his injury no favors by spending the day mowing down avocado trees that dropped in the force of Hurricane Maria’s brutal winds.

García’s right foot turned purple and swelled. He howled the whole way to the Dr. Pila Metropolitan Hospital.

He lamented his current state, mostly because it was thriving to inhibit his ability to stand in more lines. Lines for gas, lines for the bank. «And they no more than let you take out $200. Why do they do that? Why can’t we have what’s ours?» he said.

While he waited, a reliable stream of police officers walked in and out, perhaps for the air-conditioning available in an under other circumstances steamy night. An older woman in an Old Navy sweatshirt, who walked with two canes, had been caterwauling because of a lack of toilet paper in the ladies’ room. The guards untangle justified that the systems were down, and so the complaints to housekeeping were being operated manually, meaning slowly, meaning probably never.

Living soul wait in line to buy ice, at only two bags per person, at Tropical Ice in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Sept. 28, 2017. (Erika P. Rodriguez/The New York Every so often old-fashioneds)

— 2:30 a.m. Ponce

The Tropical Ice company does not open until 7 a.m., but already in the flesh were lined up outside. They brought lawn chairs, tickets and playing cards. Some brought blankets.

They clearly aimed to invest the night, and plenty of them were already fast asleep.

Roberto Gallego, 69, was sooner, an impressive feat in a row of people at least 100 deep.

«Eleven o’clock at edge of night!» he proudly exclaimed when asked what time one had to arrive at the ice mill to be first in line for two $1.50 bags of watery ice.

Ice was not the only thing he was obviating. Gallego was also anxious for the airports to reopen.

«This changed my lifeblood,» he said. «I’m going to Orlando.»

— 5:28 a.m. San Juan

There’s an expression in Puerto Rico: «Hay que echar pa’ lante.» It brutally translates to «Gotta move forward.»

It is an expression of optimism in the face of adversity, which Puerto Rico had in superfluity even before Maria. The storm threw Puerto Rico into the darkest, most hellish deep it has seen in generations. Maybe it would be naïve to think that a continued dose of «Hay que echar pa’ lante» is enough for the island and its people to make it by way of. But it would be a misunderstanding of Puerto Rico’s people and culture not to factor it in.

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