Debt Crisis Hinders Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria Relief

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Months after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20th, 2017, relief efforts continue to be stalled by the island’s damaged infrastructure. Outdated power and water systems were already in need of fixing long before the storm’s landfall because of bankrupt public service agencies following the island’s debt crisis. Coupled with previous damage from Hurricane Irma and the fact that many power and water lines were outdated and above ground, Maria’s landfall meant a complete breakdown of both power and pipelines. Contrary to Texas and Florida, which completely restored electricity and water seventeen days after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma respectively, experts predict Puerto Rico is likely to go at least six months without power.

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Puerto Rico Continues to Feel Maria

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Flooding in Puerto Rico Following Hurricane Maria. Wikimedia Commons. 

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20th, the island has seen an influx of aid from American federal agencies. Relief efforts are focused on repairing broken power grids, fixing roads and infrastructure, and draining excess water. However, ten days after the storm’s landing, 90% of the population is still without access to power, food, or water, especially in rural areas.

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