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Photos show insane lines for water, gas and cash in Puerto Rico

by Alex Lubben
Sep 27 2017, 7:11pm

In Puerto Rico, where the power is still out on much of the island, and water and resources are scarce, people are waiting in lines that extend around city blocks and down highways — just to get a few gallons of gas.

BAYAMON, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 25: A line of cars is seen waiting for gas as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 25, 2017 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Maria left widespread damage across Puerto Rico, with virtually the whole island without power or cell service. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“Because there is no power, there is a good chance that a good portion of the population has no water,” Manuel Lluberas, who lives in Carolina, Puerto Rico told VICE News by phone from a hotel in San Juan. “I don’t have any water in my house.”

In fact, the Department of Defense said Tuesday, 44 percent of Puerto Ricans lack potable drinking water. But to operate the water pumping stations, first Puerto Ricans need fuel, and fuel is scarce.

Residents line up gas cans as they wait for a gas truck to service an empty gas station, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Federal aid is racing to stem a growing humanitarian crisis in towns left without fresh water, fuel, electricity or phone service by the hurricane. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

“Water pumping stations are running out of fuel,” Lluberas said. “Right now, I have been in fuel lines for 20-some hours, for just 20 gallons of fuel.”

Though some gas stations remained closed for days after the storm hit, desperate residents lined up outside with gas cans anyway.

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 26: Edgar Morales sits and waits in line to get gas as he deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 26, 2017 in San Juan Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage, including most of the electrical, gas and water grid after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, devastated the island. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Making matters worse, gas requires cash, but ATMs were knocked out in the power outage too, leading to lines outside banks wrapped around the blocks.

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 25:A line of people wraps aroung the Banco Popular in San Juan as people are desperate to get cash. Nearly one week after hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, residents are still trying to get the basics of food, water, gas, and money from banks. Much of the damage done was to electrical wires, fallen trees, and flattened vegetation, in addition to home wooden roofs torn off. (Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 25: People wait in line at a bank as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 25, 2017 in San Juan Puerto Rico. Maria left widespread damage across Puerto Rico, with virtually the whole island without power or cell service. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

And even with gas, drinking water is still hard to find. Many of the emergency resources shipped to Puerto Rico haven’t made it out of the ports to where they need to be, and water trucks are scarce.

People queue to fill containers with water from a tank truck at an area hit by Hurricane Maria in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, September 26, 2017. Picture taken September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins - RC1D5899E400

Worse, with its infrastructure in shambles and resources scarce, the line for relief isn’t getting any shorter.

Christina Sterbenz contributed to this report.