With the Puerto Rico power grid shredded by Hurricane Maria, the U.S. Postal Service has taken the place of cellphone service at the forefront of island communications.
Only 15 percent of electrical power has been restored since the storm bludgeoned the U.S. territory on Sept. 20, but 99 of Puerto Rico’s 128 post offices are delivering mail. Tents have taken the place of post offices wrecked by Maria.
Mail carriers gather information on sick and elderly residents in far-flung parts where hospitals have closed. Data is fed into the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief office in San Juan so medical attention can be provided.
Restoration of the power grid is months away and many rural roads are blocked by mudslides, sink holes and downed trees and telephone poles. Since the start of the month the Postal Service has nonetheless been delivering letters and care packages to family members desperate for news.
“It’s been a clutch situation, and you guys have totally come through,” a FEMA worker was heard telling Postal Service Caribbean customer service manager Martin Caballero on Sunday. Read more.