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In a Cashless World, You’d Better Pray the Power Never Goes Out

In a Cashless World, You’d Better Pray the Power Never Goes Out

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When Hurricane Maria knocked out power in Puerto Rico, residents there realized they were going to need physical cash — and a lot of it.

Bloomberg reported yesterday that the Fed was forced to fly a planeload of cash to the Island to help avert disaster:

William Dudley, the New York Fed president, put the word out within minutes, and ultimately a jet loaded with an undisclosed amount of cash landed on the stricken island…

[Business executive in Puerto Rico] described corporate clients’ urgent requests for hundreds of thousands in cash to meet payrolls, and the challenge of finding enough armored cars to satisfy endless demand at ATMs. Such were the days after Maria devastated the U.S. territory last month, killing 39 people, crushing buildings and wiping out the island’s energy grid. As early as the day after the storm, the Fed began working to get money onto the island,

For a time, unless one had a hoard of cash stored up in one’s home, it was impossible to get cash at all. 85 percent of Puerto Rico is still without power, as of October 9. Bloomberg continues: “When some generator-powered ATMs finally opened, lines stretched hours long, with people camping out in beach chairs and holding umbrellas against the sun.”

In an earlier article from September 25, Bloomberg noted how, without cash, necessities were simply unavailable:

“Cash only,” said Abraham Lebron, the store manager standing guard at Supermax, a supermarket in San Juan’s Plaza de las Armas. He was in a well-policed area, but admitted feeling like a sitting duck with so many bills on hand. “The system is down, so we can’t process the cards. It’s tough, but one finds a way to make it work.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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