Karly Domb Sadof

Photo editor focusing on national news. Photo Editor at The Washington Post | Previously @AP in Bangkok & New York | Journalist & Visual Anthropologist
The Washington Post
    
Location: Washington, DC
Biography: Karly Domb Sadof is an award-winning photo editor at The Washington Post, currently working on the national news desk. She  is also a contributing writer for In Sight, The Post’s photography blog. Before joining The Post in 2016, she... read on
News
on The Washington Post: Puerto Rico After Maria: ‘Water is everything.’ But for many in Puerto Rico, it is still scarce.
karly domb sadof
Oct 16, 2018
Story by  Photos by Sarah L. Voisin
VILLALBA, Puerto Rico

Down a steep, winding road on this remote mountainside, roosters crowed as four generations of the Fernandez family woke to yet another day with no water flowing through their faucets.

Angel, 11, put on his green and yellow school uniform and brushed his teeth over his kitchen sink, pouring out water from a gallon jug. He packed a lunch box with a frozen water bottle because the drinking fountain at his school “tastes like dirt.”

Farther down the hill, his great-grandfather, Carlos Fernandez, 90, flushed his face with water from a plastic bottle, just outside the one-room wooden house where he and his wife have been living since Hurricane Maria destroyed their spacious, two-bedroom home. His 85-year-old wife, Petra Gonzalez, tried opening the faucet in the sink that hangs out of the window of the tiny house. Nothing came out.

On this Monday morning late last month, the family’s matriarch resorted, yet again, to using a metal can to scoop water out of a pot to wash dishes, her wrinkled hands moving slowly.
“Ay, it gets tiring,” Gonzalez said.

The entire family is tired of living like this. They went months without electrical power or water, and even now, the tap water comes and goes for several days at a time.

This morning marked their fifth day in a row without running water, their fifth day in a row of filling up buckets from their only reserve — a blue tank at the top of the hill. Their fifth day in a row showering with pails of cold water in the single bathroom they all share.

“Without power, we could light a candle or a generator,” Gonzalez said. “But water? Water is everything.”


 Click on the link to preview article. 
     ‘Water is everything.’ But for many in Puerto Rico, it is still scarce.
          In the year since Hurricane Maria, 50 percent of the island’s residents say people in their households couldn’t get enough water to drink. For four generations of one family, the daily struggle is excruciating.
      
 
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