More Fuel On Way To Puerto Ricans, Power Still Down For Most

More Fuel On Way To Puerto Ricans, Power Still Down For Most
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello reports progress in getting fuel supplies to the island's 3.4 million inhabitants as they faced a 13th day largely without power.


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello reported progress in getting fuel supplies to the island's 3.4 million inhabitants on Monday as they faced a 13th day largely without power after the U.S. territory was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

"We've been increasing the number of gas stations that are open," Rossello said at a news briefing, with more than 720 gas stations now up and running.

Puerto Rico relies on fuel supplies shipped from the mainland United States and distribution has been disrupted by the bad state of roads.

"We will be receiving more fuel supplies in the coming days," said Rossello, who is expecting some 300,000 barrels of diesel on Wednesday and 100,000 barrels of gasoline. Within the next couple of days, he expects 500,000 barrels of diesel and close to 1 million of gasoline to arrive on the island.

"The flow is coming, gasoline is getting here," he said. "We have been able to reduce the time that it takes to get gasoline and diesel at different stations."

Food and drinking water still are in short supply and power remains down for most of Puerto Rico's inhabitants nearly two weeks after the fiercest hurricane to hit the island in 90 years.

Some islanders got their cell phone service back on Sunday while others gathered at bars for drinking and dancing after the dry law was lifted this weekend.

Rossello said 8,800 people now were housed in 140 shelters. There were as many as 500 shelters in operation 10 days ago.

He said 47 percent of water and sewer service is up but there is variation across the island.

Federal and local authorities were working together to keep 50 hospitals operational and Rossello added that the U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort would arrive in Puerto Rico between Tuesday and Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who plans to go to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, defended his administration's handling of the disaster on Sunday.

"We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico," he posted on Twitter. "Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates people are now starting to recognize the amazing work that has been done by FEMA and our great Military."

Earlier, Trump attacked San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz on Twitter after she criticized the administrations response to Maria.

Insurers and reinsurers continued to count the cost of hurricanes this season. Lloyd's of London underwriter Hiscox Ltd estimated on Monday that it would face net claims of about $225 million from hurricanes Harvey and Irma.


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