Judy Woodruff: Next- an update from Puerto Rico. Nearly four months after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island in late September, as Jeffrey Brown explores, the return to anything like normal life for most residents has been agonizingly slow.
Jeffrey Brown:Official figures show that, of the island’s 1.5 million customers, just 900,000 have had their power restored. Businesses continue to struggle and many schools remain closed. Special correspondent Monica Villamizar is in Puerto Rico with a NewsHour team looking at how people there are coping. She joins us from Caguas.And, Monica, first, just give us a sense of what it feels like there. What are people telling you about the impact on their lives? How easy is it to get around?
Monica Villamizar: Well, Jeff, mobility has certainly improved in San Juan, the capital. But there are still many things that need to be fixed. So, there are snapped power lines. Eight out of 10 traffic lights are not working, so you can imagine what that does to traffic. It is pretty chaotic at times. And as soon as you leave the capital, then things are much worse and there is a lot of devastation still. There is debris near the roads. There’s collapsed trees, collapsed buildings that have not been repaired and a lot of crops that will simply not grow back. So, for instance, in supermarkets and restaurants, there’s no fruit. There is no plantains. There is a scarcity of goods still here in the island. And, you know, Puerto Ricans are trying to rebuild. They have been very resilient and dignified, but, frankly, they are a traumatized population at this point. Many times, we are interviewing people and they teared up, because it is kind of a secondary phase that they are living now, which is when things are starting to sink in. Many of them lost everything they had, everything they had worked for. And there is no clear, you know, horizon or future ahead of them.
Jeffrey Brown: Yes.
Monica Villamizar: Many say, we just simply don’t know what to do.
Jeffrey Brown: One of the key issues there, I know, is security, including growing crime. What are you seeing and what kind of impact is that having on people?
Monica Villamizar: You are absolutely right. The numbers are worrying. They say 32 people have been murdered this year, so in about 10 days. And that’s extremely high for Puerto Rico. Our sources are telling us that this is mostly drug-related, that there is some kind of turf war between drug gangs.These gangs were not active after the hurricane because they had to, you know, rebuild themselves and had all these situations going on in their families. And now crime is starting to pick up.But there is also a generalized feeling among the general public that there is insecurity. You know, streets are dark, for instance, because of the lack of power at night. The police are not there. There is less police presence because they are not being paid overtime. And they haven’t been paid. So, they are less motivated to go to work. So it is kind of a chain of events that means that the security situation is deteriorating.
Jeffrey Brown: And I know that you are also looking at the situation for schools, the issue of how many schools are open, and also how many people, including students and teachers, have left the island. What impact is that having?
Monica Villamizar: That’s having a very big impact. And I can tell you that the Federation of Teachers, who have very reliable statistics on this, are telling us that 23,000 students have already left to the mainland. They are saying as well that a number of teachers have left. Now, these teachers are very qualified. They are seeking jobs in Florida, New York, other places, so that means there is effectively a brain drain on the island. These people will not be replaced, and that is going to have an impact. And also the secretary of education, Julia Keleher, has said, you know what, some schools will just simply not reopen because there wasn’t enough enrollment. You know, the classes are empty. So, there’s been a real shift, or there will be a real shift in demographics in the island as people try to leave for the mainland to try to find a better future. And that’s going to have an impact, not only on the education sector, but in other sectors as well.
Jeffrey Brown: Just briefly, you have mentioned several times the power lines, the impact on the security. So, power continues to be a problem there?
Monica Villamizar: A very big problem, indeed. And the director of PREPA, which is the electric authority, said maybe like 40 percent of people don’t have power now, maybe they won’t get it until May. So that means, Jeff, that they will be living off generators, for those who can afford the generators and the fuel, for eight months to have their things refrigerated, medicine, you know, refrigerated, and freezers. It has just changed their life completely. And more worryingly perhaps is that they are now realizing that these are all short-term fixes. The whole power system of Puerto Rico is very old. It was very poorly maintained. So maybe some things will have to be rebuilt from scratch. But that is a big problem, because the island is bankrupt and the power authority has no money either. So it is a very dire situation.
Jeffrey Brown: All right, Monica, I know you and your team will have stories for us in the coming days. For now, Monica Villamizar, thanks very much.
Monica Villamizar: Thank you, Jeff.
1.get around 解决
None of these countries has found a way yet to get around the problem of the polarization of wealth.
2.live off 依靠...生活
He is a man who all his life had lived off his father.
3.pick up 情况转好
Chinese officials hope that trade will pick up when the two countries switch to hard currency.
More short-term fixes without serious medium-term commitments will only weaken confidence further.
杰弗里·布朗：官方数据显示，该岛150万人中，恢复电力的只有90万人 。很多企业仍在苦苦挣扎，学校仍然无法开学 。特别记者莫妮卡·威廉米萨尔与NewsHour团队一同前往波多黎各，看那里的人们如何应对 。莫妮卡从卡瓜斯与我们连线 。莫尼卡，首先，请你告诉我们到了那里后的一个大体感觉是怎么样的 。灾难如何影响了他们的生活，他们怎么说？交通还便利么？
莫妮卡·威廉米萨尔：好的，杰夫，首都圣胡安的交通情况现在确实得到了改善 。但仍有许多问题有待解决 。这里电力已经中断 。十个红绿灯里有八个坏掉了，你能想象这对交通所造成的影响 。有时这里非常混乱 。出了首都，情况就更糟了，全部是断壁残垣 。路边散落着各种碎渣残骸 。倒下的树木，倒塌的建筑，都还没来得及修复，大批的作物也将死去，无法存活 。比如，超市和餐馆里，根本没有水果 。没有芭蕉 。岛上物资短缺 。而且，你知道，波多黎各人正在试图重建家园 。他们很有韧性，也很有尊严，但坦率地说，现在飓风挫伤了他们的这些品质 。很多时候，我们采访他们，他们都流泪了 。因为他们现在的境况不好，事态开始逐渐转差 。他们中的许多人失去了他们所拥有的一切，他们为之奋斗的一切 。你知道，前景尚不明朗 。
莫妮卡·威廉米萨尔：你说得很对 。这些数字引人担忧 。他们说今年在大约短短10天内，就有32人遭到谋杀，这在波多黎各是非常高的 。有消息来源告诉我们，此番犯罪活动事关毒品活动，是贩毒团伙之间的地盘争夺战 。飓风过后，这些帮派消停很多，因为他们必须重建家园，而且家人也状况百出 。现在犯罪率有所上升 。但大家普遍仍感到环境不太安全 。你知道，街道很黑，例如，因为晚上电力短缺 。没有警察 。警察出警减少，因为拿不到加班费 。而且他们连工资都没有发 。所以，他们的工作积极性也打了折扣 。因此，这是连锁反应，这意味着安全局势正在恶化 。
莫妮卡·威廉米萨尔：影响很大 。我可以告诉大家，教师联合会有非常可靠的统计数字，告诉我们离岛学生已达23000人 。他们也在说，有一些老师也走了 。现在，这些老师教得很好 。他们在佛罗里达州、纽约和其他地方谋职，这就意味着该岛出现了人才外流 。这些人无可替代，此事将（对当地）产生影响 。教育部长朱丽亚·凯莱赫说，你知道，有些学校就不再开了，因为生源不足 。你知道，教室空空如也 。因此，情况发生了实质性地改变，或说岛上人口也会发生实在的变化，因为人们正努力离岛，去谋更美好的前程 。这不仅将会对教育部门产生影响，对其他部门也会产生影响 。
莫妮卡·威廉米萨尔：确实还有很大问题 。这是电力局PREPA主管说，或许现在还有40%人用不上电，可能5月份前都用不上 。这意味着，杰夫，他们未来8个月的生活用电要靠发电机，这还是对于那些能负担得起发电机及燃料费用的人来说的 。他们要把东西冷藏起来，药品，你知道，都要冷藏，还有冰柜 。这一切将他们的生活彻底改变了 。更令人担忧的是，他们现在意识到这些都只是短期解决方案 。整个波多黎各的电力系统老化，保养得很差 。所以也许有些东西必须从头开始建设 。但这是个大问题，因为波多黎各已经破产了，政府也没有钱 。所以形势非常严峻 。
杰弗里·布朗：好的，莫尼卡，相信你和你的团队在接下来的日子里，会给我们带来更多内容 。现在，莫妮卡·威廉米萨尔，非常感谢 。