SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Police and Emergency Management personnel went on Saturday to the Guajataca dam area in the northwest of the island to evict residents of adjacent areas, out of fears that the dam is at risk of bursting.
After the passage of Hurricane Maria 11 days ago, the dam has had a higher load than usual and recent rains have contributed to pressure on the dam.
On Sept. 22, the authorities ordered the clearing of areas near Quebradilla and Isabela, and Saturday the security forces went to the area to ensure their orders were followed and to evacuate those who have not yet left.
Puerto Rico’s Gov. Ricardo Rossello met with the commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, as well as with representatives of the Federal Agency for the Management of Emergencies (FEMA) and the Puerto Rican Electricity Authority (AEE), in order to assess the next steps of the joint effort for the island to recover electric power.
Only five percent of AEE subscribers have electricity.
In addition, USACE presented part of the team that will remain in Puerto Rico to assist in these tasks, to be led by its Director of Contingency Operations and National Security in Washington DC, Jose Sanchez.
Meanwhile, police reported that several floodgates of the Lake La Plata dam, located in Toa Baja, in the north of the island, will be opened.
Puerto Rico’s Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (AAA) executive president Eli Diaz reported that, in addition to measures taken to evict several citizens, a plan to contain the dam is underway.
“We are working with the United States Corps of Engineers on solutions to mitigate dam damage,” said Diaz, adding that the tasks to that end “are already in place.”