Efforts to resume operations for plastics processors in Puerto Rico are being hampered by electrical and infrastructure problems and continuing concerns about their employees.
The island was rocked by Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 hurricane that landed in the U.S. territory Sept. 20 with winds of 155 mph and tore through the island, killing at least 16 and cutting power to all 3.4 million residents.
A week later, only a dozen or so hospitals have power, less than half the population has drinking water, cellular service remains out for much of the country and about 11,000 people are in shelters, according to updates from Gov. Ricardo Rossello and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Ports and airports are struggling to operate. Fresh water, food and fuel for generators remain in short supply. Roads are blocked by fallen trees and utility poles and about 30,000 roofs need repair.
Becton Dickinson and Co., which makes medical products like syringes, diagnostic trays and disposal containers for sharps, has several sites in Puerto Rico and is still trying to determine how the hurricane will affect business and livelihoods.
"Some of our facilities in Puerto Rico experienced some damage and we are still assessing the full impact," BD spokesman Troy Kirkpatrick said in an email Sept. 26. "We are assessing when we can return to full operational capacity, which depends in part on local conditions and infrastructure in Puerto Rico so we can ensure our associates can travel to and from work safely."
The two BD sites in Cayey — where some wooden houses were reduced to piles of sticks — are among those that seem to have sustained minimal damage, Kirkpatrick said. Company officials believe BD has sufficient inventory to get by until all the sites are running at capacity again, he added.