Time to throw some Paper Towels

I find myself needing to remind people all the time-

PUERTO RICANS ARE UNITED STATES CITIZENS AND THEY ARE EUROPEAN WHITE!

They happen to speak Spanish is all, it’s no different than speaking French or Italian.

Puerto Rico is 3,515 square miles. Connecticut is 4,849 square miles. Puerto Rico has 3,193,694 residents. Connecticut has 3,572,665 residents. They are remarkably similar (well, in Puerto Rico you get Hurricanes, but you get Hurricanes in Connecticut too and you can pretty much rely on the weather being thoroughly miserable for at least 4 or 5 months out of the year) except for this figure-

      Median Household Income in Connecticut: $74,168
      Median Household Income in Puerto Rico: $19,343

Do the math.

On the other hand until the Ramapo Fault sends us all sliding into the sea we don’t worry about Earthquakes much (though we’ve had them as recently as 2012).

After Homes Collapse in Earthquake, Puerto Ricans Ask: Are We Safe?
By Patricia Mazzei, Edmy Ayala and Frances Robles, The New York Times
Jan. 8, 2020

Across swaths of southern Puerto Rico, families are huddled on parking lots, basketball courts and even roadsides, as an unrelenting series of aftershocks continues to rock the island. At least 45 earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or higher were registered since early Tuesday morning, according to the Puerto Rico Seismic Network. Two-thirds of the island’s 3.2 million people remained without power.

Puerto Ricans were all too aware that the island’s aging buildings, particularly its schools, were vulnerable to hurricane winds and flooding. But few had seriously thought they could also be destroyed by powerful earthquakes, which had been relatively rare in recent years. Some homes that were elevated to avoid storm surge — a risk made apparent with the thousands of homes damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Maria in 2017 — collapsed when the ground moved.

On Tuesday, the education secretary, Eligio Hernández, said up to 95 percent of the island’s public schools were not built to withstand earthquakes, despite Puerto Rico’s location on the border of two tectonic plates. Classes have been suspended indefinitely so the buildings can be inspected.

“We are going to evaluate the totality of the agency’s infrastructure,” Mr. Hernández said at a news conference. “All of the schools were inspected after Maria by the Army Corps of Engineers, all of them, so they could operate.”

But he noted that schools built in the 1950s or ’60s were designed to comply with older building codes that did not include modern seismic safety standards.

Emilio Colón Zavala, an engineer who is the immediate past president of the Puerto Rico Builders Association, said the building code that required quake resilience was enacted in 1987. About 70 percent of the island’s infrastructure, including more than 500 schools, was built before 1980. A plan a decade ago to retrofit hundreds of schools ended for lack of funding after about 100 schools were renovated, he said.

Félix Rivera Arroyo, president of the Earthquake Commission of the Puerto Rico Engineers Association, said there was no law that required the more than 850 schools on the island to keep up-to-date with new code revisions.

“The problem is the government does not have a law that requires inspections,” Mr. Rivera said.

After Hurricane Maria, the Federal Emergency Management Agency pressured Puerto Rico to enact even stricter building codes, which took effect two months ago.

Even the 1987 building codes may not have offered full protection: A school in the town of Yauco, built just 15 years ago, was heavily damaged during Tuesday’s quakes.

The continuing power failures were proving to be an equally pressing problem for an island that did not see full electrical service restored until nearly a year after Hurricane Maria.

About 1 million electrical customers still had no power on Wednesday, and the outages also left about 250,000 customers without running water.

“This is a question of hygiene and health,” Elí Díaz, the president of the water department, told WKAQ radio. “People can go without water for one day, maybe two. Now is when things start getting a little harder.”

On Twitter, the power authority said it was generating 955 megawatts of power by Wednesday evening, about 40 percent of the amount normally needed at this time of year.

Authorities were working around the clock to fire up power plants around the island, but it was unclear whether they could generate enough electricity to make up for the loss of the island’s major power plant, known as Costa Sur.

Towns in the southwest hit hardest by the earthquakes were struggling with all the problems combined: collapsed buildings, no power, no water and long lines at the few stores that were open.

Allow me to repeat.

Two thirds of Puerto Rico is without power.

Again.

Back to your regular Programming (consider what that means, carefully).

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