Puerto Rico: Residents Warned Not To Drink From Toxic Wells

The situation in Puerto Rico appears to be getting worse, with some residents reportedly attempting to get water anywhere they can. Sufficient aid has yet to reach many residents in the island and desperate Puerto Ricans are now risking their lives to get some water. It’s been weeks since Hurricane Maria struck the island but over 80 percent of the population is still without power and around 50 percent are without communications.

No electricity and communications is a big problem but the water situation is said to be even worse. The state department estimates that a third of the population is without potable water. The situation is said to be so bad at the moment that some residents are attempting to access wells that have been closed due to toxic pollution.

A few hours ago, the Environmental Protection Agency said that it had reports of residents getting or attempting to get water from wells that have hazardous waste. The EPA says these are superfund sites, which are polluted areas that have been closed and have been designated for federal cleanup.

Residents have been warned not to drink or attempt to get water from the wells as they are polluted. EPA said it was working with Fema to get drinking wells repaired. The environmental regulator also urged residents not to open the wells or attempt to get water from them.

EPA also warned residents about the water from rivers or streams. The environmental regulator says the water from rivers and streams should be boiled before use because raw sewage is still spilling on some waterways.

Hurricane Maria struck the island a few weeks ago and left it completely without power. The death toll increased to 45 earlier this week and more than 100 people are still missing.

US President Donald Trump recently tweeted that they could not keep Fema, the military and first responders in the island forever. The tweet has been heavily criticized by a number of politicians.

Repairs to stop raw sewage from spilling into the waterways and to restore electricity and water could take months. Puerto Rico, which has a population of 3.4 million people, was going through a financial crisis before the storm and the latest tweets by Mr. Trump have left Puerto Ricans angry and dismayed.

The Mayor of San Juan is among the politicians who have criticized the lack of support and response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.