Maria Impacts Promo Firms on Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria blasted Puerto Rico on Wednesday, knocking out power to the entire island. The Category 4 storm made landfall near the city of Yabucoa with winds of 155 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center reported. There are 99 ASI-listed distributors in Puerto Rico, some of which are still recovering from a brush with Hurricane Irma earlier this month.

The Printer Lion (asi/299504) in San Juan, PR, has been without power for the past two weeks. Consultant Silvia Gonzalez has set up an away message for the company’s email informing customers that staff is working remotely. The message reads: “We are making every effort to work and submit orders our standard way, but sometimes it is just not possible. We appreciate your patience and ask that you work with us through this emergency, trying to get in touch with us to my cell directly, and not rely on emails only.”

Cindy Ortiz, owner of CPM Promotional Marketing (asi/154510) in Dorado, PR, has been working in Orlando, FL, but has been getting reports from her daughter Katya Gandia back on the island. “She said it has been horrible, especially the sound of the wind,” Ortiz said. “Sadly, my house in Dorado has taken a direct hit and we still don't know the outcome of the devastation.”

Credit: Cedrik-Isham Calvados, Getty Images

The Puerto Rico Office of Emergency Management reported that the entire island was without power as of Wednesday afternoon. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Maria has caused severe damage to infrastructure in the U.S. territory, tearing through buildings and flooding homes. Officials report Maria has killed at least nine people in the Caribbean: seven on the island nation of Dominica and two on the island of Guadeloupe. Over 11,000 residents took refuge in emergency shelters as of early Wednesday morning, Rossello tweeted. The governor also asked President Trump to declare the island a disaster zone, which would allow for federal aid.

Maria became the first hurricane of Category 4 strength or greater in nearly 80 years to hit Puerto Rico, home to 3.5 million people. Rainfall totals were projected at 12 to 18 inches, causing “life-threatening flooding” in the territory. Storm surge was predicted to be six to 9 feet in coastal Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. By Thursday afternoon, Maria is expected to pass through Turks and Caicos, bringing hurricane-force winds but not making a direct hit. Forecasters project the storm to travel east of Florida and the Carolinas.