Puerto Rico crisis

A social worker, Lisel Vargas, has come to visit Don Gregorio at his storm-damaged home on the steep hillsides of Humacao, a city on Puerto Rico's eastern coast near where Hurricane Maria first made landfall.

As Puerto Rico continues its recovery from Hurricane Maria, officials on the island are preparing for billions of dollars in federal reconstruction aid that will begin flowing in the coming months.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson applauded FEMA's decision to extend a program that provides temporary housing for Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria. 

 

 


Before Hurricane Maria hit last September, Puerto Rico was battered by the forces of another storm — a financial storm.

The island's own government borrowed billions of dollars to pay its bills, a practice that Puerto Rico's current governor, Ricardo Rosselló, now calls "a big Ponzi scheme."

Associated Press

An opulent Florida hotel is spending tens of thousands of dollars to ship its two large generators to Puerto Rico.

The decision comes nearly a week after a blackout caused power outages for much of the fragile island still struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Maria.

Electricity has been restored in Puerto Rico following an outage on Wednesday that left the island in darkness. It was the first island-wide blackout since Hurricane Maria swept through the U.S. territory in September.

A transmission line was accidentally damaged by an excavator, reported The Associated Press.

Puerto Rico has experienced an islandwide blackout seven months after Hurricane Maria hit the island and devastated much of its infrastructure.

Every single power customer on the U.S. territory is without power, NPR's Adrian Florido reports from San Juan. More than 3 million people are affected. It's the first total blackout since Hurricane Maria.

One tree was all it took. Around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, a wayward trunk tumbled over onto a major transmission line in Puerto Rico's still-fragile electrical grid and cut power to roughly 840,000 customers, affecting more than half of the island's population.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is partnering with the South Florida Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce and a private university from the Caribbean island to offer jobs to Hurricane Maria's evacuees.

Displaced Puerto Ricans Face Obstacles Getting Health Care

Nov 21, 2017

The federal government has granted people affected by the devastating hurricanes that wracked coastal states and Puerto Rico 15 extra days to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

But Puerto Ricans who fled to the mainland after the destruction face problems well beyond timing.

Yerianne Roldán wants to be a graphic designer, or maybe a writer, or maybe both. Her good friend and classmate, Zuleyka Avila, has already made up her mind. She's going to be a pediatrician.

Those plans hit a bump in the road this fall, though, when Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, where both girls lived with their families. Forced to leave the island — much of which is still without power — they've both relocated to Orlando.

These days, Puerto Rico's monumental power restoration effort involves helicopters dropping 100-foot towers into the mountains and a "big dance" of crews, equipment and expertise from several agencies and companies. But progress has been slow and that dance has been a complicated and tedious one on the island, which is experiencing the largest outage in U.S. history.

And sometimes it's one light forward, two lights back.

It's a muggy early afternoon in Morovis, a mountain community about 40 miles from San Juan. Army Reserve soldiers led by Captain Angel Morales are hard at work handing out cases of water and ready-to-eat meals from a flatbed truck. Hundreds of people line up in the parking lot of the Jaime Collazo High School.

Man and woman standing together
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Saturday may have been rainy, but that didn’t stop a small private plane from getting eight very sick people out of Puerto Rico and into Ft. Lauderdale to receive the indispensable medical treatment they can't receive on the island at the moment. 

After Hurricane Maria devastated the island, South Florida resident and Puerto Rican native Debbie Sosa started making calls to help those she didn’t think could wait until mid-December, when the government in Puerto Rico estimates power will be restored. 

 

Just seven months ago, Puerto Rican chef Jose Sanchez opened the restaurant of his dreams: a place where you could feel like you were in Italy one day, and like you were in France the next.

He served up fusion cuisine and called it Pera Maraya. There was deconstructed ratatouille, caprese salad with octopus. The restaurant in Carolina, east of San Juan, was getting rave reviews: five stars on Yelp, Trip Advisor and Facebook. He spent nearly a decade saving up to open this restaurant, and was overjoyed at how quickly it found success.

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