(Photo: Erika P. Rodriguez/The New York Times)
San Juan, Puerto Rico is in shambles after being hit by Hurricane Maria. The aftermath of the disaster includes power outages, undrinkable water, and debris in the roads.
Unlike Texas and Florida, Puerto Rico is impoverished which makes aiding the disaster all the more expensive. Local construction worker Edwin Serrano remarks, ““The irony is we’re in crisis here, and go figure, a phenomenon like this one comes to destroy us.”
The island has been named a disaster zone, meaning that federal emergency money will be used in the process of its recovery. Around 3,200 workers were on site of the disaster to provide aid.
Because most radio stations, antennas, and cell phone towers are down, the extent of the damage is unclear: federal agencies cannot communicate with local governments. As of now, the death toll is 15 in Dominica, two in Guadalupe, and two in Puerto Rico, but those numbers will likely climb.
With a devastated economy, there is still hope for Puerto Rico to receive aid from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) because it is a U.S. territory. David Merrick stated, “At least 75 percent of the recovery money is going to come from FEMA. It becomes ‘how do I build back in a way that’s better.’ This is the time, unfortunately, to make those changes and not just blind duct-tape everything back together the way it was.”