We definitely don’t talk enough about the lack of aide the U.S. has given Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit and devastated the island. Over 1400 died as a result of the natural disaster and many suspect the number was actually significantly higher. Nearly two years later, Puerto Rico still hasn’t been the same and hundreds of Puerto Ricans — especially those who came to the states — have been displaced with no real place to live. But what a lot of folks don’t realize is like many islands in the Caribbean, PR can very easily experience another storm again. Now the question is do they have enough resources to prevent another catastrophic aftermath?
NPR reports that in the town of Utah, a bridge over the Viví River is finally being built to replace the old cement and steel one that was severely destroyed after Hurricane Maria.
Hurricane Maria resulted in massive landslides and downed trees that blocked mountain roads, making it impossible for anyone in the town to get out. They were blocked off from the rest of the island for weeks. Another thing we don’t see enough on the news is the fact that there are still many Puerto Ricans on the island who have not been able to rebuild their homes. In fact, many of their homes are still covered with blue tarps. So if another storm hits this season it could reverse the progress that’s been made and wash out homes.
Congress has allocated close to $20 billion towards the rebuilding of homes and infrastructure but the process has been slow. This is do in large part to the lack of government help they have received. Though the island is better prepared than they were two years ago when Maria hit, not enough is set in place to prevent further damage. So much so that a FEMA assessment found that almost every home and building on the island was damaged by the storm in some shape or form, meaning if a storm hits again their homes would not be safe to shelter in and can potentially be even more damaged.
“What happened in Maria can happen again,” Carlos Acevedo, the director of Puerto Rico’s Bureau of Emergency Management tells NPR.
This is beyond concerning.