Puerto Rico: Video shows Puerto Rico school going wild as lights come back on after months of blackouts

Singing, cheering and even bell-ringing erupt as staff and pupils celebrate

Jon Sharman
Thursday 18 January 2018 15:18
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Schoolkids scream with joy as electricity returns to their school in Puerto Rico

Staff and pupils went wild with joy when the lights came back on in a Puerto Rico school after months without power, video shows.

The Academia Bautista de Puerto Nuevo said it had gone 112 days without electricity after Hurricane Maria tore through the US territory last September.

The 20 September storm knocked out the island's power grid, leaving all 3.4 million residents without electricity, and disrupted the water supply.

In video posted to Facebook, pupils can be seen dancing in their classrooms as teachers come out into the halls to film the scene.

Singing, cheering and even bell-ringing erupt as the school celebrates in the clip posted on 11 January.

On Facebook, bosses said: "We are grateful to all the parents, students and staff who have stayed with us and continued to support us in this situation."

Local officials have warned that Puerto Rico's power and water and sewer companies will run out of money this month.

Both firms say their funds have dwindled since the Category 4 storm caused up to an estimated $95bn (£68bn) in damage, knocking out power to the entire island.

Nearly 40 per cent of power customers remain in the dark.

Last week the island's governor, Ricardo Rossello, criticised the federal government's response to Hurricane Maria and said residents of the island - who are US citizens - are being treated like "second-class citizens".

Mr Rossello and other critics have complained that federal aid given to Puerto Rico after its worst natural disaster has not been equal to that given to Florida, Texas and California after similar catastrophes.

A billion-dollar emergency loan approved by Congress to help Puerto Rico deal with the effects of the hurricane has been temporarily withheld by federal officials who said the US territory is not in fact facing the cash shortage it has repeatedly warned of in recent months.

The island central cash balance exceeded $1.5bn in the nearly four months since Maria struck, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said, noting the local government released documents in late December showing it had nearly $7bn available in cash.

Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities can separately apply for loans, FEMA said.

Additional reporting by agencies

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