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Fuel shortages after Fiona make Puerto Ricans cautious

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In Science and Space: As Hurricane Fiona’s power disruptions in Puerto Rico continue, an increasing number of businesses, including supermarkets and petrol stations, are temporarily closing their doors, raising concerns about the supply of fuel and essential products.

Betty Merced, a retired woman who resides in the southern coastal city of Salinas, claimed she had been searching for diesel to fuel her generator for several days without success. She cannot take any chances without her sleep apnea machine.

On an island where 62% of 1.47 million consumers still lack power more than four days after the hurricane hit, hand-written signs warning of closures have started to appear more often, drawing sighs and groans from customers.

There are numerous individuals with various demands, she noted. “If there is no diesel, we will be in serious danger.”

She remarked, “When I saw that, my stomach almost churned,” noting that it brought back memories of Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that struck Puerto Rico in September 2017 and left almost 3,000 people dead while also causing major shortages of food, water, fuel, and money.

As some pharmacies temporarily close, people have also had difficulty getting their medicines. Fiona, which hit Puerto Rico as a Category 1 hurricane on Sunday, produced flooding, landslides, and an island-wide power outage, according to the Department of Consumer Affairs of Puerto Rico. However, the system has been disrupted as a result.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, some gas stations were unable to reopen or be refilled, according to officials. Edan Rivera, the secretary of consumer affairs, attempted to allay worries by claiming that “there is no reason to talk about a fuel shortage in Puerto Rico.” He continued by saying that his organisation has also located enough supply of necessities.

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On Thursday night, Rivera declared that workers had successfully restored power to a gasoline distribution terminal in the southeast town of Yabucoa, which had been using a generator to operate at only a third of its capacity. As the terminal could now run round-the-clock until the island heals from the hurricane, Rivera claimed that this would hasten the distribution of fuel throughout the island.

Rivera continued by saying that certain wholesalers have taken action to stop stores from stockpiling fuel. “Some people claim to have received less stuff, however this is not true. They asked for a lot, and just to be safe, they aren’t getting all they want, he said.

In the most impacted areas, there is a surge in demand, but as trucks arrive, it has been easing. He claimed there was enough normal fuel for 16 days, diesel for 17, and premium gasoline for 29 days.

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