Puerto Rico crisis

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

A month after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan stepped off a helicopter in the town of Ceiba with a mission: Get relief supplies to people in need.

Puerto Rico's government began complying with a court order and released partial records Tuesday of deaths following Hurricane Maria. The data reveal that there were 1,427 more deaths in the last four months of 2017 than the average over the four years before. The new count comes as questions swirl around the official death toll and reports that hundreds of bodies remain unclaimed in the island's main morgue.

Sen. Bill Nelson was in Tampa on Monday to announce an endorsement from former Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Rossello.

Early on Saturday morning, business at Laura Om's salon on Calle Loiza in San Juan, Puerto Rico is booming. Hurricane Maria, in a roundabout way, has something to do with that.

Om specializes in styling curly, natural hair — something that Puerto Rican women often go to great lengths to straighten with strong chemicals and hair dryers.

Eight months after the hurricane, it appears that Hurricane Maria — and the subsequent power and water outages — created a new market for Om's skills.

Updated 12:43 p.m. ET

Perhaps 5,000 people died in Puerto Rico in 2017 for reasons related to September's Hurricane Maria, according to a study that dismisses the official death toll of 64 as "a substantial underestimate."

A research team led by scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health didn't simply attempt to count dead bodies in the wake of the powerful storm. Instead, they surveyed randomly chosen households and asked the occupants about their experiences.

Updated 5:58 p.m. ET

The last of the federal government's power restoration crews are scheduled to leave Puerto Rico when their contract expires next week, leaving the island's power utility with the task of energizing the last 1.5 percent of customers still waiting eight months after Hurricane Maria.

But on Wednesday, the island's representative in Congress asked the federal government not to send its crews home.

A social worker, Lisel Vargas, has come to visit Don Gregorio at his storm-damaged home on the steep hillsides of Humacao, a city on Puerto Rico's eastern coast near where Hurricane Maria first made landfall.

As Puerto Rico continues its recovery from Hurricane Maria, officials on the island are preparing for billions of dollars in federal reconstruction aid that will begin flowing in the coming months.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson applauded FEMA's decision to extend a program that provides temporary housing for Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria. 

 

 


Before Hurricane Maria hit last September, Puerto Rico was battered by the forces of another storm — a financial storm.

The island's own government borrowed billions of dollars to pay its bills, a practice that Puerto Rico's current governor, Ricardo Rosselló, now calls "a big Ponzi scheme."

Associated Press

An opulent Florida hotel is spending tens of thousands of dollars to ship its two large generators to Puerto Rico.

The decision comes nearly a week after a blackout caused power outages for much of the fragile island still struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Maria.

Electricity has been restored in Puerto Rico following an outage on Wednesday that left the island in darkness. It was the first island-wide blackout since Hurricane Maria swept through the U.S. territory in September.

A transmission line was accidentally damaged by an excavator, reported The Associated Press.

Puerto Rico has experienced an islandwide blackout seven months after Hurricane Maria hit the island and devastated much of its infrastructure.

Every single power customer on the U.S. territory is without power, NPR's Adrian Florido reports from San Juan. More than 3 million people are affected. It's the first total blackout since Hurricane Maria.

One tree was all it took. Around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, a wayward trunk tumbled over onto a major transmission line in Puerto Rico's still-fragile electrical grid and cut power to roughly 840,000 customers, affecting more than half of the island's population.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is partnering with the South Florida Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce and a private university from the Caribbean island to offer jobs to Hurricane Maria's evacuees.

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