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Puerto Rico governor hopes for 95 percent power by December

By Ray Downs
Puerto Rico governor hopes for 95 percent power by December
A ward clerk at Pavia Arecibo Hospital in Puerto Rico exits a medical tent on October 4. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosello says he hopes to have 95 percent of the island's power grid working by Dec. 15. Photo by Master Sgt. Joshua DeMotts/U.S. Air Force/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The governor of Puerto Rico said he expects to have 95 percent of the power restored on the hurricane-ravaged island by mid-December.

"This is an aggressive agenda, but we cannot be sort of passive in the face of Puerto Rico's challenges," Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said Saturday. "We are going to need all hands on deck."

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Only 15 percent of the island had electricity by the end of the weekend, weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the power grid. Rosselló said the next two months should be enough time to get electricity back on track -- and said his goals were 30 percent power restoration by the end of October, 50 percent by Nov. 15, 80 percent by Dec. 1 and 95 percent by Dec. 15.

Rosselló said the goals were established "so that our people can have clear and established metrics," NBC News reported.

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Most of Puerto Rico's power has been out since Hurricane Maria devastated the island on Sep. 20, leaving 90 percent of the island in the dark and 40 percent without running water.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said last week that more than 19,000 federal civilian personnel and members of the military are working in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to aid recovery.

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"These efforts include restoring power and potable water, returning hospitals to operation, increasing fuel supplies, increasing cell phone coverage, and re-opening transportation facilities," FEMA said.

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Thursday, the House approved a $36.5 billion aid package for states and U.S. territories affected by hurricanes this year, as well as California, which has been scarred by wildfires. The aid package still needs Senate approval.

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