Hurricane Maria

WMFE

FEMA is extending housing assistance for Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria.

The extension lasts through March 20. Puerto Rico’s government asked for the extension of the Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program as more than a third of the island remains without power.

But the Rev. Jose Nieves of the First United Methodist Church of Kissimmee says many families and hotels where they are staying have not yet gotten the word.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

More than three months after Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico, there are thousands on the island still without power and basic necessities and nearly 300,000 people have come to Florida seeking refuge.

One hundred days ago, powerful Category 4 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico leaving the island severely crippled and the more than 3 million U.S. citizens desperate for help.

Now, Puerto Ricans on the island and U.S. mainland are feeling angry and the lack of progress and they are organizing to demand help for Puerto Rico.

Though life has improved for some Puerto Ricans on the island more than three months since Maria hit, the Caribbean island is still in recovery mode.

On a normal night, dozens of tourists would be gaping at the glowing sea life on Mosquito Bay, a cove named after a legendary pirate ship in Vieques, Puerto Rico. But on a night in mid-December, it's empty. The loudest sounds are the frogs croaking in the mangroves.

An international human rights group, Refugees International, has issued a scathing report on the U.S. response in Puerto Rico to Hurricane Maria. The group says "poor coordination and logistics on the ground" by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Puerto Rican government "seriously undermined the effectiveness of the aid delivery process."

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Nearly 10,000 students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have enrolled in Florida’s public schools since hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the Caribbean.

Education leaders haven’t yet quantified the financial impact of absorbing them into schools. But it’ll likely take a combination of funding from the state and federal governments to cover the costs.

While visiting a Coconut Grove elementary school late last month, Gov. Rick Scott said the state has reserves that could be used to help.

Angel Valentin / National Association of Hispanic Journalists

It's been two months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. But more than half the U.S. island territory's residents still have no electricity. A fifth still don't have running water. And so far there's no reliable official death toll from the storm – even though it's becoming apparent that hundreds more died than first reported.

Puerto Rico is in the midst of the worst electricity outage in U.S. history. Most of the island remains without power more than two months after Hurricane Maria hit the island.

Some Puerto Ricans are saying that the current crisis should be a wake-up call that the island needs to move to a less centralized power system — and that solar power might be part of the solution. In other words, they believe Puerto Rico should follow the lead of many developing nations where solar power production is expanding rapidly.

The continuing blackouts in Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and Maria have overshadowed the devastation in the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands, where nearly 73 percent of residents remain without power two months after the Category 5 storms made landfall.

Juan Luis Martinez / AP

Seven weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory is still struggling to restore power, water and other basic needs. Things only got more muddled on Friday with the sudden resignation of the island’s emergency management director.

Tim Padgett / WLRN News

WLRN's Americas Editor Tim Padgett traveled to Puerto Rico one month after Hurricane Maria hit the island as a powerful category 4 storm, knocking down the electrical grid and destroying most of the infrastructure.

AP

WASHINGTON — The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says there was “a lot wrong” with a $300 million no-bid contract awarded to a tiny Montana company to aid Puerto Rico.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long tells Congress that FEMA officials only learned about the contract awarded to Whitefish Energy Holdings after it had been signed by the board of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.

The head of the troubled utility said Sunday he would seek to cancel the contract, amid scrutiny from multiple federal and congressional investigations.

Man and woman standing together
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Saturday may have been rainy, but that didn’t stop a small private plane from getting eight very sick people out of Puerto Rico and into Ft. Lauderdale to receive the indispensable medical treatment they can't receive on the island at the moment. 

After Hurricane Maria devastated the island, South Florida resident and Puerto Rican native Debbie Sosa started making calls to help those she didn’t think could wait until mid-December, when the government in Puerto Rico estimates power will be restored. 

 

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, 18-year-old Ledishla Acevedo booked a flight to Miami in hopes of continuing her college education in Florida.

When she arrived at her cousin’s house here, she turned on the lights and started to cry.

Then she took a hot shower and cried some more.

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