About 10 weeks ago, the tiny island of Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, a category 5 storm. This translates to winds that reached 280 km/hour. This hurricane was in the news as it caused 51 billion dollars of property damage, was responsible for the death of 97 people. So, we asked the question, what has become of Puerto Rico? What’s the evolution of the situation?
For those who were unaware, Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States of America. What this means in practice is the people are American citizens.
Here is a recap of the events.
The 16 of September, Hurricane Maria formed, and only 4 days later, the 20th, it hit Puerto Rico, then proceeded to move north where in dissipated. This seems bad, but once you realize that Puerto Rico had been hit by Hurricane Irma two weeks earlier, and about 80,000 people remained without electricity. To add to the panic, much of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure is poorly maintained. The island’s water system does not meet the Safe Drinking Water act of 1974 and the local electricity authority had filed for bankruptcy even before the hurricanes hit.
How has the situation improved over the last 10 weeks? Unfortunately, not very well. Many on the island still suffer from power shortages and hard access to clean food and water. The Puerto Rican economy took a momentous hit, as the primary source of GDP is manufactured goods, which people are unable to sell because of the lack of clients. The rural areas of the country have also been cut off from the rest and roads and bridges necessary access by car have not been repaired. The Federal Government attempted to help, but nothing drastic has been done until now. The true heroes of this crisis are volunteers and neighbors, who came to the people aid as well as the hundreds of professionals that worked at hospitals even with limited power.
“Porto Rico craint la «dévastation» après le passage de l’ouragan Maria.” TVA Nouvelles. 2017.
“L’ouragan Maria cils République Dominicaine après coup direct sur le port de Puerto Rico.” AllInfo. September 23, 2017. 2017.