La “nueva normalidad” de Puerto Rico…

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Samuel De Jesus and his aunt Nilda Diaz embrace after not having seen each other before the passage of Hurricane Maria at the Rio Abajo community in Utuado on October 17, 2017. The difficulty of crossing the Viví River prevented them from seeing each other before in the community that uses an improvised pulley system as their only way to obtain supplies since the passage of Hurricane Maria that caused the river to wash away the only bridge that gives access to the neighborhood. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGO

John McPhaul, periodista *

Hay una nueva normalidad en Puerto Rico.

No tener electricidad es la nueva normalidad.
Leer con una luz de carbón que se ata a tu cabeza es la nueva normalidad.
Los sonidos de molienda de los generadores que compiten con la icónica canción de la rana coqui en la noche es la nueva normalidad.
Negociar intersecciones sin semáforos es la nueva normalidad.
Ver gente saturar puntos calientes por  electricidad y wifi ” en bancos, Starbucks, plaza las Américas y McDonalds es la nueva normalidad.
Ver a los militares y a los agentes federales fuera de la isla de todas las franjas, Seguridad Nacional, el servicio forestal, el servicio de salud pública, el servicio de parques nacionales, agencia federal de gestión de emergencias. La Agencia de protección del medio ambiente (por nombrar unos pocos)  ayudar en el esfuerzo de recuperación es la nueva normalidad.
Ver helicópteros militares contra el cielo de san juan que vuelan a las afueras es la nueva normalidad.
En estas ciudades, la nueva normalidad es más aterradora.
Algunos han perdido todo tras el huracán que se llevó sus casas, sus pertenencias, y las dejó con la ropa en la espalda.
Para el 44 por ciento de la gente, no tener agua es la nueva normalidad.
Para ellos llenar botellas de agua y otros contenedores en los oasis o peor aún, beber y bañarse de los arroyos contaminados es la nueva normalidad; sin acceso al agua potable y tantas plantas de tratamiento de aguas residuales que se ponen de servicio por las enfermedades infecciosas de la tormenta como la leptospirosis están llamando a la puerta.

 

  • Facebook John McPhaul, periodista estadounidense residente en Puerto Rico. Escribió para Tico Times en San José.

 

 

Ver especial gráfico TicoTimes.net

 

PHOTOS: ‘There’s a new normal in Puerto Rico’

John McPhaul October 22, 2017
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Samuel De Jesús and his aunt Nilda Díaz embrace on Oct. 17 after not having seen each other since before the passage of Hurricane María in September. In their community, Río Abajo de Utuado, the only access bridge was washed out by the storm. (AFP Photo / Ricardo Arduengo)

There’s a new normal in Puerto Rico.

Not having electricity is the new normal.

Reading with a light that straps on to your head coal-miner style is the new normal.

The grinding sounds of generators competing with the iconic song of the coqui frog in the night is the new normal.

Residents form a human chain to load supplies to a truck at the Rio Abajo community in Utuado on Oct. 17. AFP Photo / Ricardo Arduengo

Negotiating intersections without stoplights is the new normal.

Seeing people crowded around electricity and WiFi “hotspots” – banks, Starbucks, Plaza Las Americas and McDonald’s – is the new normal.

This shopping cart and improvised pulley system is the only way for the community of Utuado to obtain supplies ever since the passage of Hurricane Maria caused the river to wash away the only bridge that gives access to the neighborhood. AFP Photo / Ricardo Arduengo

Seeing military people and off-island federal agents of all stripes, Homeland Security, the Forestry Service, the Public Health Service, the National Park Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency. the Environmental Protection Agency (to name a few) by the score to help in the recovery effort is the new normal.

Seeing military helicopters against the San Juan skyline flying supplies to outlying areas is the new normal.

This US Navy photo released on Oct. 7 shows an MH-53E Sea Dragon from the “Vanguard” of Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 14 embarking aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), as it prepares to transport concrete barriers to help repair the Guajataca Dam in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico. AFP Photo / US Navy / Levingston Lewis / Handout

In these towns, the new normal is more frightening.

This photo from Sept. 24 shows the extent of the initial damage in Toa Alta, west of San Juan. AFP Photo / Ricardo Arduengo

Some have lost all to the hurricane that took their houses, their belongings, leaving them with the clothes on their backs.

For 44 percent of the people, not having water is the new normal.

People affected by Hurricane Maria collect water while others bathe using an improvised water system for water pipes from a mountain creek in Utuado, Puerto Rico on Oct. 17, 2017. AFP Photo / Ricardo Arduengo

For them, filling up water bottles and other containers at oases or worse yet, drinking and bathing from contaminated streams is the new normal.

With no access to potable water and so many waste water treatment plants put out of service by the storm, infectious diseases like leptospirosis are knocking at the door.

Javier walks on his house next to an image of La Virgen de Guadalupe and a placard that reads in Spanish, “Voy a ti (I’m coming to you) Puerto Rico,” in Yabucoa, in the eastern part of Puerto Rico, on Sept. 28, 2017. Puerto Rico braced for potentially calamitous flash flooding after being pummeled by Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island and knocked out the entire electricity grid. AFP Photo / Hector Retamal