Puerto Rico Eight Months After Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rican storm damage
Hurricanes in Puerto Rico damaged power lines, causing months of problems in the island.

This month people will dance, sing, and celebrate the culture of Puerto Rico. Eight months ago, the island of Puerto Rico suffered through two devastating hurricanes. As June 10th and the National Puerto Rican Day Parade approaches, let’s take the time to look at recovery efforts there.

With the dangers of high winds and flooding have passed, Puerto Rico still faces danger from the damage done to its infrastructure. Infrastructure is the basic systems needed for a government to operate. It includes water, roads, emergency services, communication, and energy. Unfortunately, even before the hurricanes, economic problems had let the island’s infrastructure to deteriorate. This left them especially vulnerable to the hurricane.

The largest problem has been getting Puerto Ricans electricity. The storms destroyed the entire power grid for the island of Puerto Rico. It took months for the United States Army Corps of Engineers to restore power. Even now, Puerto Rico faces occasional power outages.

Losing power means more than just not being able to turn lights on. Without electricity, pumping stations cannot move clean water to mountain areas of Puerto Rico. People are without air conditioning in very hot weather. Many on the island have taken cold showers at night just to cool their body enough to sleep. Food spoils because there is no refrigeration.

During the hurricanes, many people courageously helped Puerto Ricans. This year’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade will take time to honor heroes during the hurricane such as first responders. However, Puerto Ricans still need help in their recovery efforts, especially as this year’s hurricane season is set to begin.

What Can You Do? Research charities that give aid to Puerto Rico. Talk to your local government and business leaders about what help they can give to Puerto Rico.

Photo Credit: USDA Photo by Preston Keres