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Puerto Rico

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Amanda Parker · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Thoughts and best wishes to the people of Puerto Rico. I hope over the coming weeks life is able to edge closer to normal. Please let you climbing community what we can do to help!

I am set to be travelling to PR Dec 25 to Jan 5. Would any Puerto Ricans like to weigh in on the situation? Would I be in the way if I am there as a tourist/to climb? Would it be seen as rude in the midst of such a disaster? If I were to continue with my travel plans, could I help with trail work/recovery/maintenance in any way?

Looking for advice. I don't want to be insensitive and I'd like to help. I have heard it both ways: you'll be unwanted and also we need your revenue.

Puerto Ricans: please advise.

John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 577


I don't want to say for sure one way or another, but let me share my experience with this type of thing.  

Back in '08, Cayman Brac was hit by a cat 4 hurricane in the first few days of November.   I went down there in mid-March, four months later, to work on my house which was badly damaged along with just about every other building on the island.  Even though they had flown-in many construction crews immediately after the storm, the roof on my house was sealed (Ice&water guard) but there weren't any shingles on it yet (it took another two months).  The drywall repair was still wet in places.    

Huge piles of debris (house parts, wrecked cars, trees, furniture, you name it) where piled everywhere, just like you see on TV now in Texas and Florida.   They had the claw-truck running 24/7.   In other words, there's too much work and not enough people and machines to do it.   There will be a chronic shortage of building materials of all types, even with people coming down to help.

They disconnect every house from the power mains until it can be inspected and it took a week to get an inspector out due to the backlog.   There was ONE restaurant open, running on a generator.  

There wasn't a house, room or apartment available on the island.  Of the ones that were habitable, local families and construction crews were living there eight-to-a-room or more. When my place got close to habitable, people would stop to see if they could rent it.  It was filled immediately by locals for the next 6 months.  I rented one apartment to a couple and their two kids, who were living in one house with their parents and their brothers' and sisters' families; about 25 people!   Remember, this was four months after the storm.

PR is a much larger island with a closer Big Brother (England is a long way from Cayman) but I wouldn't suggest you go there as a climber/tourist in December.  If you're a carpenter, plumber or electrician and want to work, December might be a good time.

Matt Pierce · · Denver, CO · Joined May 2010 · Points: 278

my 2 cents - doubt they would want you there. They will be no where near ready for tourists in such a short amount of time. They probably wont even have power back yet. Long time Colorado front ranger Eli Helmuth now lives and guides there - maybe he can chime in. Although he hasn't even updated his FB page on status of his family - likely because there is no power, cell, Internet etc.

Amanda Parker · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Thank you both, this has confirmed what I was thinking!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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