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Things Are Still Really Bad in Puerto Rico

Roberto Figueroa Caballero sits on a small table in his home that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria in La Perla neighborhood on the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico on Oct. 5, 2017.
Ramon Espinosa/AP

Weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, conditions on the island remain precarious for its 3.4 million residents.

Water, food, and gasoline remain in high demand. FEMA reports that only 56% of residents have access to potable water in their homes, causing many to rely on bottled water and unsafe collection methods.  

Read More: Puerto Rico Is Still Reeling from Hurricane Maria and Needs Help Now

Although 77% of grocery stores are reportedly open, only about 400 out of 5,000 miles of road have been reopened after the storm, making access to food difficult. Many organizations are engaged in large-scale efforts to distribute meals across the island. 

A damaged electrical grid has left 88.3% of customers without power. Though most hospitals are open, many are using unreliable generators that could leave medical professionals without electricity in the blink of an eye.

Supplies, medical services, and other relief materials are being distributed from ten staging areas around the island established by Governor Ricardo Rossello.

Read More: The Heartbreaking Photos of What's Really Happening in Puerto Rico

While the short-term challenges faced by Puerto Rico pose enormous logistical problems, the long-term project of rebuilding the island’s infrastructure looms large over the heads of many officials.

Several private companies have stepped up to aid these efforts including Alphabet, which recently received FCC approval to launch a number of telecommunications balloons around the island in order to revive cell service for residents.

Additionally, a speculative tweet by a random twitter user sparked a potential partnership between tech giant Elon Musk and Puerto Rico to help rebuild the island’s power grid using solar technology. 

Signs indicate that some sort of plan had been hatched, and the future of Puerto Rico’s energy could be green.

Rebuilding Puerto Rico will require innovation and cooperation on a large scale.

Read More: Puerto Rico’s Crisis Is Not About ‘Broken Infrastructure.’ It’s About Poverty

For those interested in helping with relief efforts, click here to check out Global Citizen’s guide to aid organizations.

You can also call on world leaders to help the millions of people affected by climate change here.