It’s been almost two years since Hurricane Maria hit and devastated Puerto Rico. The deadly storm resulted in close to 3,057 deaths and the island has yet to fully recover, due to lack of federal funds received by the U.S. government. An increase in depression, PTSD, and suicide has occurred since the hurricane, lack of hospitals have resulted in Puerto Ricans receiving less health care and assistance, and there are displaced residents everywhere. A new Netflix documentary called After Maria plans to highlight the displacement of many Puerto Ricans who have lost their homes on the island and the trailer has just dropped.
Hurricane Maria was the second deadliest hurricane in United States history and yet it wasn’t treated as such. It destroyed thousands of homes and killed thousands of people. The island was left completely devastated. The documentary follows three displaced Puerto Rican women and how they navigate their families and their lives after Hurricane Maria and as their federal housing aid in New York expires.
“She arrived like a monster. Sweeping away Puerto Rico entirely,” one of the women narrates at the beginning of the trailer where we see the aftermath of the storm along with a lineup of empty shoes of the missing and dead.
“FEMA came to my house two months later,” a woman says. “They told me, ‘No, you can’t live here.’”
“One day I will go back to my island,” another voice says. The documentary follows these Puerto Rican women as they are forced out of their island to temporary housing in the Bronx. Months after the storm hit, FEMA provided hotel rooms for displaced Puerto Ricans to find shelter in NYC. But it was only a temporary solution.
“Six months, here at the hotel,” one of the women says while we see her and her family crammed in a small hotel room. In the trailer, we learn that a lot of the Puerto Rican families staying at the same hotels in the Bronx eventually became close friends and supported each other through the process. We learn about the difficulties they experienced living in NYC and the struggles they face when FEMA ends their assistance, leaving many Puerto Ricans displaced and homeless.
The hurricane ruined a lot of lives and left a lot of Puerto Ricans with nothing. Many who were sent to live in the Bronx haven’t been able to find descent work and have struggled to make enough to find a place of their own in NYC. It poses the question: Will these families be forced into homelessness?
Puerto Ricans from the island have needed a lot more assistance and disaster relief has continued to be delayed because Trump doesn’t want to help because he doesn’t think the island deserves to receive more money. As a result, there’s no telling when they’ll finally receive the federal aid they desperately need and deserve
After Maria hits Netflix on Friday, May 24. Check out the trailer below!