Hurricane Maria Devastated Puerto Rico in 2017…


Lisbet Hernandez, Staff Writer

On September 20th, 2017, Hurricane Maria, a category four hurricane, hit Puerto Rico. At first the exact number of deaths was not  known exactly due to the fact that there was no way of recording how many people died. The original death toll was 68 but many officials were wary of that number because of how long the hurricane lasted. Some people that perished during the hurricane, died due to collapsed bridges or from drowning. Recently the government of Puerto Rico has reported that there were 2,975 total deaths. A significant number of people died months after the storm due to poor healthcare. Considering the tremendous number of fatalities, Puerto Rico has made great progress and is one step closer to rebuilding itself.

As of 2018, Hurricane Maria has broken the record for being the worst storm to ever hit the small island. Lamentably, Hurricane Maria came only two weeks after Hurricane Irma, and residents did not get the opportunity to re-establish themselves. This caused approximately 200,000 Puerto Ricans/ U.S. Citizens to leave the island in order to seek protection somewhere else.

Immediately after the hurricane hit, approximately one million Puerto Ricans were left without electricity. Residents that remained on the island had to deal with not having clean water to drink, poor cell phone service, and limited amounts of food and medicine. Living in those harsh living conditions caused more deaths to occur. For example, many people died of diabetes due to the limited amount of food, and it was impossible to follow certain diets.

Nearly one year after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, the island nation has open roads and cell phone service but still has a lot of rebuilding to do. To begin with, many Puerto Ricans are still living under blue tarps instead of roofs. Huricane Maria caused a lot of damage to buildings and many people lost their houses, so a lot of reconstruction needs to occur. Citizens have had trouble trying to get aid to rebuild their houses because FEMA has not been able to recognize official proof of home ownership. Many fund raisers and charities such as United for Puerto Rico have been opened so that people from all over the world can help contribute to rebuild Puerto Rico. After about a year of struggling with poor healthcare and living conditions, Puerto Rico is on the right track in re-establishing itself and becoming the tropical island paradise that it once was.