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Puerto Rico Struggles with Aftermath of Hurricane Maria

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Puerto Rico remains in chaos and devastation, two weeks after the storm made landfall on September 20, 2017. With a population of 3.5 million, 89% - most of the island's residents still without power, 44% are without access to clean water and, 74% of cell towers are down across the island. The death toll is officially at 34.

Hurricane Maria was the worst-case scenario for the island, nearly a Category 5, Maria was massive (was like a 50-mile-wide tornado) and made a direct hit, raging across the island with top winds of 115 mph (185 kph) and rain that latest longer than 30 hours. It is the strongest storm to hit Puerto Rico in almost 90 years.

Let's not forget that Puerto Rico was not hit by one hurricane, it was hit by two. Hurricane Irma hit Puerto Rico on September 7, leaving more than 1 million people without power.

While the US government is responding to the disaster, the response has been very slow and very little.

Let's see the numbers and timing:

"After a magnitude-7 earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, President Obama ordered a massive military and civilian response. As The Washington Post describes: Eight thousand troops were bound for the island within two days; 22,000 troops and 33 ships had arrived within two weeks. And five days after the quake struck, former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton joined Obama at the White House to announce the Haiti Fund, a multimillion-dollar philanthropic appeal for the foreign country.

By comparison, only about 7,200 military personnel have made it to Puerto Rico two weeks after landfall.2

On September 28, 2017, over a week later, Lieutenant General Jeffrey S. Buchanan was dispatched to Puerto Rico to lead all military hurricane relief efforts.

Updates as of November 20, 2017:

  • 43% of the island's residents still without power
  • 61% of cell towers are down across the island
  • 17& of residents still without potable water
  • Approximately 89% of grocery stores are open
  • The death toll is officially at 45
  • More than 100,000 Puerto Ricans have left for the continental U.S
  • 2,844 people remain in shelters across the island. 67 shelters are open and operating
  • 80% of crops are decimated

How can you help?


United for Puerto Rico
United for Puerto Rico is an initiative brought forth by the First lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Roselló in collaboration with the private sector, with the purpose of providing aid and support to those affected in Puerto Rico by the passage of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane María.

One America Appeal
Please give whatever you can. Every cent donated through the One America Appeal will help the victims recover.

Help World Central Kitchen
Want to help Puerto Rico? Here is one more way to do so. Help World Central Kitchen and Jose Andres Puerto Ricans.

American Red Cross


Emergency Management Agency

Live Updates

To get live updates follow David Begnaud on facebook. He is a CBS News correspondent and was there before Hurricane Maria hit, and his reporting after the storm prompted action. He is my hero, if you ask me.


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Did You Know?

The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista is the oldest buildings in San Juan, and is the second oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere; construction began in 1521.