Hurricane Maria was a powerful Category 4 hurricane that hit Puerto Rico in September of 2018. When Hurricane Maria hit, 60,000 people were still without power as a result of Hurricane Irma.
Despite great efforts, many parts of Puerto Rico are still suffering from last year’s hurricane season.
A new study suggests that Hurricane Maria was responsible for more than 1,100 deaths in Puerto Rico. The official death toll from Puerto Rico’s government is 64, but this number doesn’t factor in deaths that were indirectly related to the hurricane.
Following the storm, there were disruptions in electricity and limited access to medical care, both of which had an impact on both safety and quality of life. According to Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Health, the storm had a mental toll, as well. There was a 29% increase in suicide rates in 2017.
In addition to costing the lives of many loved ones, the storm caused $94 billion in damages. Because Puerto Rico was already in debt, that cost was devastating for the economy.
Experts anticipate that it will take decades for Puerto Rico’s economy to fully recover from the disaster.
Life was very difficult for Puerto Rico after the 2017 hurricane season. Toward the end of 2017, there were still 1.2 million people without electricity, and many didn’t have access to clean water. Even now there are various power and water outages which affect everyday life on the island.
Puerto Rico’s poorest residents were most affected by the storm. Many lived in rural communities, making it difficult for them to obtain resources. These communities will be the last to regain electricity and access to clean water.
After the storm, many schools remained closed and some were converted into shelters and community centers. This forces students to relocate or find alternative options for resuming their studies. Thousands of people have also left Puerto Rico for the mainland, with the majority of people settling in Florida. This changes the community and family dynamic locally as people are further away from their close relatives who have moved away for a better life.
Puerto Rico Today
Despite the slow progress, the nearly 100% of Puerto Rico has regained electricity and cellular service. Southern regions recovered more quickly, but the North, West, East and Metro areas are also on their way to making a full recovery.
Unfortunately, 2018’s hurricane season is quickly approaching. Experts say this storm season won’t be as bad as originally anticipated. However, people are still preparing for the possibility of another big storm.
Many charities are still raising funds to help the citizens of Puerto Rico recover from the 2017 hurricane season. If you have interest in donating to a charitable organization that will actually make an impact locally, please get in touch for a suggestion or two.