Thousands in Puerto Rico Still Without Power as 2018 Hurricane Season Begins

In Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, bedridden cancer survivor Jose Sepulveda and his wife, Elogia, haven’t had electricity since September 2017. CBS NEWS

Hurricane season officially begins today, but thousands in Puerto Rico still haven’t recovered from last year’s. It could take another two months to fully restore power to more than 11,000 customers who lost it during Hurricane Maria more than eight months ago, according to the latest estimate from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.

The despair from Maria is still evident as residents try to rebuild. But progress is slow and the heartache runs deep. If you land in San Juan today you’ll find most people going about their lives. But just outside San Juan, it’s impossible to miss the misery, reports CBS News correspondent David Begnaud.

Jose Sepulveda is a bedridden cancer survivor whose wife hauls him onto the front porch every day because the heat is insufferable inside. They haven’t had electricity since last September.

“No power for eight months and hurricane season has now begun. Are you ready for another season?” Begnaud asked.

“Oh, no! No. How can we be ready. We have no light!” Sepulveda’s wife, Elogia, said. “It’s not easy and sometimes I start crying. But I got a Lord up there and he helps me.”

They live in Yabucoa where Hurricane Maria made landfall. Thirty-eight percent of people here still don’t have power. Across the island, 11,000 customers are still waiting. Carlos Reyes got so frustrated waiting, he restored his own power.

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SOURCE: CBS News