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Clearing the road to the Puerto Rican parrot aviary after Hurricane Irma. Photo by José M. Martínez, USFWS.

Glimmer of hope

Workers report some progress in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a long way from standing upright again, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said on Tuesday.

But the U.S. territory shows a few encouraging signs that it is trying to rise after Hurricane Maria knocked it flat.

The island remains without power, Service workers said in a Tuesday conference call, but there are a few places where cell-phone service is working.

There’s more. Five pallots of supplies – each containing generators, fuel and other essentials – left Miami Monday on a vessel headed to Puerto Rico. Two airplanes also are standing by to bring aid; they should leave Wednesday morning, Service workers said.

Plans also called for a crew to leave Atlanta Tuesday afternoon to help law enforcement officials who landed in Puerto Rico a few days earlier. They will clear roads, check on Service employees and head to areas cut off when the hurricane passed by.

Those are the bright spots, officials said. Other issues aren’t as encouraging.

Water remains at a premium. Fuel is scarce just about everywhere, with people waiting for hours in lines at empty gas stations in the hope that fuel trucks will make deliveries. A lot of roads are still impassable.

The weather will soon turn, too. At the moment, the forecast for Puerto Rico calls for clear skies with only a few showers. But on Friday, anywhere from a quarter-inch to an inch of rain could fall on the island’s east and southern coasts.

Precipitation is the last thing Puerto Rico needs. Areas across the island are under flood warnings. Officials also fear more rainfall could further strain Guajataca Dam, already in danger of failing.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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