And with everyone from the governor of Puerto Rico to the mayor of San Juan predicting that it could take four to six months to resume electrical service, people were contemplating empty refrigerators, campfire cooking, bathing in their own sweat and perhaps wrangling for fresh water on an island accustomed to hard times but nothing like what the future may bring.

“It’s been hard to see infrastructure deteriorate in Puerto Rico, but it has been harder to meet citizens who have lost it all,” Governor Rosselló said.

The most immediate danger was from the dam, which suffered structural damage. And finding gasoline was already a big problem. Lines for ice and gas stretched for blocks. Generators needed diesel or regular gas to work, and supplies at gas stations were quickly dwindling.