The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) restored statistics on its website about Puerto Rico’s access to water and electricity one day after silently removing them.
The Trump administration was already facing heavy criticism for its slow response to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, and appeared to be trying to hide some of the more appalling statistics. After numerous outlets reported the missing data, FEMA restored a current list of how many people have access to clean drinking water and electricity.
FEMA is now reporting that 9.2 percent of Puerto Rico has access to power, up from the 5% that was on the site before vanishing on Thursday. The website is also reporting that 55% of Puerto Ricans now have access to clean drinking water, two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck the island.
FEMA said Friday that the figures will remain on its Hurricane Maria website:
“While some information was not included in yesterday’s update to our website, at no point was the data not publicly available. Reports suggesting an effort to remove any data points are simply erroneous.”
Officials now say that residents in cities should get power back “within weeks or a couple months,” but those in outlying areas could be without power for almost a year.
The Army Corps of Engineers has almost a hundred hospitals and sewer stations running on gas generators as the island struggles to get basic infrastructure back online. Limited cell phone reception and roads blocked by debris and fallen power lines are further slowing an already slow recovery process.