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Here's our latest on Lares:
A final assessment of the Lares municipality has been conducted 1 Dec 2017, an interval of 35 days. Food, water, medical supplies, power, roads, schools and communications all have some functionality, but the mountainous areas have been isolated and without services. Potable water is a serious problem in some areas of Lares. We give this an overall assessment as behind plan. With a confidence assessment of medium-high based on the amount of data we were able to gather in the municipality. Specific details are:
Schools: 8 of 17 schools are open. This is a substantial change from initial assessment (no schools were open).
FCC cell sites: 9 of 16 sites are out (56%). This is only a minimal change since initial assessment, when 10 sites were out.
- In the mountainous areas e.g. Castañer, as of 15 Nov, the town was without cell coverage and internet, and the only way to communicate to other towns was by police radio.
Medical: Two Health Centres are open in Lares, one has grid power, one has generator power, both with limited comms.
Castañer General Hospital has stayed operational due to having installed a new generator prior to Maria, and drinking water from its own certified well.
- However, the hospital is dependent on diesel fuel: the hospital stopped servicing in-patients for 10 days during a shortage of fuel, but reinstated the service after finding a supplier who could reach the town with a 500 gallon truck.
- Charity groups were the only source of medical supplies until mid-October when FEMA, the US National Guard and the US Army arrived.
- Isolation due to lack of comms and blocked roads made it very difficult and dangerous to transfer critical patients to bigger hospitals in Ponce.
- As at 15 Nov the hospital is operational 24/7.
Electricity: 28 sites have been energised, which is a significant improvement since initial assessment.
As at 15 Nov, the mountainous areas of Lares e.g. Castañer were without electricity and is not mentioned in the list of sites with power today.
- 27 Nov, resident of a small town reporting no electricity.
Water: As at 15 Nov, the mountainous areas of Lares e.g. Castañer are without water. The community hospital has a well which is the only source of water in the area.
Food and water aid: Food and water is still being distributed by the municipality and the Red Cross (data up to 27 Nov). However, on 27 Nov, a resident reports hearing that towns with less than 100 homes will not receive supplies.
Roads: the mountainous areas of Lares e.g. Castañer were totally cut off after Maria. By 15 Nov, locals have worked to clear routes but they are still affected by downed power lines and mudslides. E.g. 20 Nov, PR-129 from Arecibo toward Lares, power poles down).
A FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) opened 16 Nov to assist with residents’ claims for repairing damaged homes and businesses.