Puerto Ricans are fleeing en masse amid slow hurricane recovery, lack of potable water

A woman gathers water in Puerto Rico
(Image credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Three weeks after Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 85 percent of the U.S. territory doesn't have power, 40 percent of residents don't have drinkable water, and with so many homes destroyed and conditions improving at a slow pace, tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans have fled to the continental U.S., some of them probably permanently. The Trump administration let its Jones Act waiver lapse on Sunday night, with no plans to reinstate it, and Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CBS News correspondent David Begnaud on Tuesday that he would prefer the shipping restrictions be lifted again, because "at this juncture, why not use all the tools available?"

The death toll from the hurricane is officially about 34, though it's probably higher, and Rosselló told Begnaud he's really worried about a public health crisis tied to contaminated water. At least two people have died from the bacterial infection leptospirosis and at least five others are being treated for symptoms.

"It's really hard to find clean drinking water on this island," Begnaud said in his report Tuesday night. Rosselló "has taken it delicately, I would say, with FEMA and his federal partners. He's given credit to FEMA and the federal government, President Trump specifically, for helping him out, but whatever help is being given is not happening enough, that's the bottom line. It's three weeks since this hurricane, and there's not enough water on this island, that people so desperately need."

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"What do you want from your government?" Begnaud asked local police officer Daniel Pacheco. "Just to show up," he said. "We're just asking for people to move the gas, people to move the food."

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