The road to recovery after Hurricane Maria lashed out on the island of Puerto Rico has been extremely difficult. The lack of a functional power grid & other resources made it nearly impossible for the U.S. Territory to make much progress in a timely manner. The Communications Infrastructure has been utterly destroyed. Without this crucial system in place, the rebuilding process has been slowed even further. To put it simply: Puerto Rico needs all the help it can get.
An organization that has been helping with relief efforts for the southern half of the island recently reached out to Sunny Communications inquiring if there was any support or assistance they might be able to provide. In response, Sunny sent two of their most experienced technicians, Troy & Brian, to help with establishing effective communications for a local Power Station (this Power Station provides power to most of the Southern coastline). Within days, they boarded a plane & took off for Puerto Rico.
Upon arrival they were able to witness the devastation & lack of progress in rebuilding. With help from an interpreter, Troy & Brian made daily one hour drives from Ponce to the Power Station where they proceeded to construct a Base Station that would assist in recovering damaged power line towers that had been crushed and strewn across the mountainside.
While there, they were able to construct a Base Station for two channels that allowed communications up the mountainside to the clean up crews. They set up one antenna about halfway up the mountain with a direct line-of-sight to the Base Station. They had to build a weatherproof “booth” that would house the repeaters at this site. A second antenna was mounted on the mountain ridge. This made it possible for crews at the peak of the mountains to communicate with crews at the Power Station. This also allowed for speedy communications in the event of an injury or other time sensitive emergencies.
The conditions for the project were anything but accommodating. The narrow, winding, mountain roads utilized to access these antenna sites were challenging. In most cases, bulldozers had to forge an accessible path for the vehicles to even pass. On top of that, the setup & construction for these sites was done using generators. The lack of resources on the island made generators “worth their weight in gold,” according to Troy. “One of the biggest hold backs in the project was acquiring resources”...”we tend take for granted the ease in which we are able to get these supplies back home,” he added. Cellular service across the island was also extremely minimal, if at all.
Despite many obstacles, two weeks after arriving, an effective communications system was put in place & the tower removal project was now able to run at a more efficient level.
Hurricane Maria was the worst hurricane the island had experienced in 80 years & it caused destruction beyond all expectations. Maria left over 3.5 million people without power, making it the largest blackout recorded in U.S. history. Two months after Hurricane Maria beat down the landscape, more than half of Puerto Rico's Power Grid is still offline & experts estimate a large portion of the island will remain without power for at least another year.
Puerto Rico needs whatever help they can get at this point. Please consider making any size donation to assist with Puerto Rico Relief Efforts.
Click here to donate to Puerto Rico Relief.
Click here for photos of Sunny in Puerto Rico.