Articles on Puerto Rico

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Some Puerto Ricans had to restore downed power lines themselves after Hurricane Maria. Alvin Baez/Reuters

Puerto Rico has not recovered from Hurricane Maria

It's been one year since a Category 4 storm turned Puerto Rico into a disaster zone. Today, nearly every pillar of society — including the economy, health care and schools — remains hobbled.
President Donald Trump tosses paper towels into a crowd at Calvary Chapel in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico in October 2017 following Hurricane Maria. Trump congratulated Puerto Rico for escaping the higher death toll of “a real catastrophe like Katrina.” A new study suggests almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Politics and paper towels: Disputing disaster death tolls

As Trump fumes about the Hurricane Maria death toll, it's clear that politics and political considerations often play an important role in how death toll estimates are communicated to the public.
Nearly a year after Hurricane Maria, water is still not restored to all of Puerto Rico. Reuters/Alvin Baez

Harvesting rain could help Caribbean countries keep the water on after hurricanes

Many countries collect and store rainwater for use during drought or dry seasons. But this technique is rarely used in the Caribbean, where hurricanes can leave people without water for months.
Hurricane Irma demolished Sint Maarten in the Dutch Antilles, in September 2017. The island has yet to recover. AP Photo/Carlos Giusti

How corruption slows disaster recovery

Corruption has made hurricane Caribbean countries' recovery less efficient and more expensive, new research shows. Misuse of funds may also trigger more disaster-related deaths.
Rising seas, harsher weather, rainier days. The impacts of climate change make it harder for Caribbean countries to plan their transition toward renewable energy sources. Ricardo Rojas/Reuters

Climate change may scuttle Caribbean’s post-hurricane plans for a renewable energy boom

The 2017 hurricane season showed that Caribbean nations urgently need more resilient power grids. But the effects of climate change – including more severe storms – complicate the shift to renewables.
Some 17,000 U.S. troops aided in the Caribbean relief effort after hurricanes Irma and Maria. That’s roughly equivalent to the U.S. military’s humanitarian mission in the Philippines after Typhoon Hiyan in 2013. U.S. Department of Agriculture

Military mission in Puerto Rico after hurricane was better than critics say but suffered flaws

Compared to its foreign disaster missions, the US military mobilized slowly after Maria. But in numbers, capacity and logistics coordination, its work in Puerto Rico was on par with other aid efforts.
Puerto Rico’s power utility, PREPA, has been decimated by years of scarcity and bad management. But will privatizing it really turn the lights back on for Puerto Ricans? AP Photo/Carlos Giusti

Why privatizing Puerto Rico’s power grid won’t solve its energy problems

Many Puerto Ricans are happy to see their broke power utility sold off to whoever can get the lights turned back on. But privatizing the island's energy grid may bring more problems than relief.
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency deleted — but later restored — key statistics on its web page about the percentage of Puerto Ricans living without drinking water and electricity. In this photo from October 2017, Roberto Figueroa Caballero sits in his wall-less home after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

Scientific information is the key to democracy

The U.S. government continues to wage a fight against scientific information. Without it, the public can do little to address environmental and economic inequality.
Though much of Puerto Rico remains devastated by Hurricane Maria, people are preparing to celebrate the holidays. Lorie Shaull/flickr

Puerto Ricans aren’t giving up on Christmas

It's said Puerto Rico has the longest Christmas in the world, a noisy two-month celebration that goes through mid-January. Can the holidays still happen in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria?

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