Puerto Rico Recovery Hangs In the Balance Amidst Water Crisis

As recovery efforts move forward on Puerto Rico, a new and potentially much larger issue has emerged-- a lack of safe, potable water. The DoD stated Wednesday that about 44 percent of the Puerto Rican population remains without drinking water.

According to NBC, "There are more than 8,800 federal staff, including 600 FEMA workers, on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands aiding recovery efforts after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, FEMA said Wednesday. The agency said it has provided more than 6.5 million liters of water, 4.4 million meals and 70,000 tarps, among other supplies, to the islands since Maria first made landfall." 

Such an influx of stormwater has raised lead, bacteria, and chemical levels in potable water. On top of a typically-lax adherence to regulations, this dangerous mix has created a toxic nightmare for the American territory's 3 million-plus citizens, Natural Resources Defense Council Health Director Erik Olson told NBC News, citing his group's latest research.

"Puerto Rico just clearly has the biggest challenges of any state or territory in the United States," Olson said.