SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Motors, power generators and other equipment arrived from the U.S. mainland Friday to re-establish Puerto Rican drinking water supplies knocked out by killer Hurricane Hugo, Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon said.
The supplies had been delayed because of bureaucratic red tape, Puerto Rican authorities complained.
Hernandez Colon said it would take at least a day to install the equipment and restore the Sergio Cuevas water supply plant in the San Juan area to service.
'The big effort now is to put the people in economic condition to rebuild their houses. Part of the desperation of the people is that they are continuing (to stay) in the shelters,' Hernandez Colon said.
Elsewhere in the northern Caribbean, devastated by Hugo early in the week as it made its way northwest to the U.S. mainland, the Pentagon said all 1,100 U.S. troops assigned to quell looting in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands would be there by Friday night.
'No violence has been reported on the island in the past 24 hours,' a Pentagon spokesman said Friday. 'Patrols will increase today throughout the island.'
The spokesman said 150 military policemen were on patrol Friday morning in the two main cities on St. Croix -- Frederiksted and Christiansted -- along with U.S. marshals, FBI agents and local police.
To alleviate a critical shortage of drinking water on the island, the military flew in a 'reverse osmosis water purification unit' to provide 600 gallons of purified water an hour. In addition, two Navy ships docking Friday at Christiansted and Frederiksted are capable of converting 40,000 gallons of seawater daily, authorities said.
A portable landing dock, the Gunston Hall, was scheduled to arrive in St. Croix Saturday afternoon with a capability to produce 150,000 gallons of potable water daily.
Air Force cargo jets were also flying in electrical power generators, 200,000 Army field rations and plastic sheeting for roof and home repairs.
U.S. Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan and a congressional delegation were to leave Saturday on a weekend tour of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to assess hurricane damage.
The trip was organized at the direction of Rep. Morris Udall, D-Ariz., chairman of the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over U.S. island territories and possessions.
Touring the devastated northeastern Conovanas area of Puerto Rico Friday, Hernandez Colon told reporters that the sanitary installations in shelters there were still unusuable.
Housing Secretary Vydia Garcia, who accompanied the governor, said that in the nine communities in the region, 10,000 homes had been destroyed and 10,000 partially damaged. Government official figures estimate the number of people still in shelters at more than 10,000 people.
President Bush Thursday declared Puerto Rico a disaster area after receiving Hernandez Colon's estimate that Hugo caused $200 million in damage to the U.S. commonwealth. Bush already had declared a disaster for the Virgin Islands, where officials were claiming at least $500 million in damage.
Puerto Rico authorities said they feared pestilence due to the flooding, strewn debris and lack of potable water. Medical supplies were being rushed to all parts of the island to prevent outbreaks of cholera and other diseases.