Puerto Rico still recovering a year after Hurricane Maria
Daily life still a struggle for the victims on the island; Phil Keating reports from Yabucoa.
YABUCOA, Puerto Rico – Memories and religious ceremonies planned in Puerto Rico on Thursday, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson joining Gov. Ricardo Rossello in San Juan. One year ago today, a Category 4 Hurricane Maria devastates the AMERICAN Commonwealth, storming the shore recorded wind gusts of 170 km / hour.
An estimated 3,000 people lost their lives on the island and many of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure crumbled. Most of the island lost electricity for at least three months. Some had just recovered from the previous month.
Rossello told Fox News that Maria caused approximately $140 billion in damage. And he is worried that the next hurricane can do it all apart again.
“We have a couple of very strong infrastructure that has been put in,” the governor said. “But everything we have done is, essentially, a lift-up of the old system, and in some parts even more vulnerable than it was for Maria.”
On the island, the restoration and the reconstruction is still happening every day.
Marylinette Martinez house lost its roof when the hurricane blew in her neighborhood. Martinez and her 4 – and 5-year-old daughters have been spending the past year falling on her in-law’s house. Her city, Yabucoa, remains only 50 percent restored.
The disaster relief organization Samaritan’s Purse is to help her rebuild the roof this month.
Photos: Puerto Rico hammered by the Hurricane Maria
“It is really hard to not be a safe place for the children,” she said.
Samaritan’s Purse distributed 75,000 blue tarps after Maria hit. Fly around the island on Thursday, you can still see plenty of houses covered with tarp.
“It is a year later, and while a lot has been done, we are still to find people who live under plastic,” said Samaritan’s Purse Daniel Stephens. “So, it is still a struggle.”
His workers continue to help the residents, and even installing solar panels to help make their power work.
When Hector Batista ‘ s house in the mountains, a passing lightning storm shot a bolt of lightning in the area, knocking out his power. He and his wife went six months without electricity after the hurricane. He said: it is still unreliable.
“Now, every time it rains, the road,” he said.
Damage and debris is still a prominent part of the new landscape. A huge wind-power farm, with pieces of the huge turbines is still on the ground. The power utility is still not received.
In the northern, coastal town of Barceloneta, Maria ate on the beach, which has resulted in a dozen houses to collapse into the sand. They sit there, piles of abandoned rubble.
To commemorate the anniversary of the worst and most expensive hurricane ever seen Puerto Rico, the governor and the mayors on the island to hold ceremonies on Thursday. Carson joined the governor in San Juan.
And all the government flag at half staff.
Phil Keating joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in March 2004 and currently serves as FNC’s Miami based correspondent.