Puerto Rico, a little territory of the United States off the coast of Florida, was hit with Hurricane Maria on September 20th, 2017. With howling winds up to 150 mph, Maria left the island destroyed, before going into the Atlantic and becoming a distant memory to most U.S. citizens today. But Puerto Rican citizens are still suffer, with a lack of support from the U.S. Even 6 months after the hurricane first hit the coasts of Puerto Rico, people are still dying due to complications caused by Hurricane Maria.
In 2018 alone, 5 people have died due to lack of water, power, or homes cause by Maria. As if frozen in time since the hurricane hit, the recovery process in Puerto Rico seems to be slow. After a tragedy, there are two stages of regrowth. First emergency services, such as water, power, shelter. Most Puerto Ricans have water, and 90% have power. That remaining 10% sounds like a smaller number, but that represents nearly 156,000 people. Next comes the recovery, where rebuilding starts. Rebuilding schools and homes, getting back to the way life was before the tragedy. But it seems as if Puerto Rico is stuck between the two. “Here we are months after this storm and we are debating if we should still be sending these emergency—really emergency, and life sustaining—supports, or (should we) transition into this recovery process. That is just truly breathtaking,” said Lori Peek, director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder. As you can see in this graph, recovery is occurring, just exponentially slower than tragedies we see in the U.S.
While recovery is happening in Puerto Rico it isn’t happen as fast as it needs to. People are still dying, and we need to keep sending our support for the Puerto Rican people.