1 year after Hurricane Maria: Vigil held to honor lives lost

Pauline Gross
September 22, 2018

The Democratic mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, slammed President Donald Trump on Thursday, telling Anderson Cooper that the White House's response to Hurricane Maria will go down in history as Trump's own Hurricane Katrina, a storm that many say marred George W. Bush's presidency.

Last month, the U.S. Commonwealth's government sharply raised the official estimate of Maria's death toll to nearly 3,000 after an independent study. David Begnaud was in Puerto Rico when the Category 4 hurricane made landfall and has been following the recovery efforts. On August 28, 2018, the Governor of Puerto Rico revised the official death count from 64 to 2,975.

In a series of personal accounts of the storm and its aftermath from island residents, compiled by the Times, Puerto Ricans repeatedly reported second-class treatment, illustrating that huge gap in support for natural disasters on the mainland like Harvey and last week's Hurricane Florence, and the response to Maria offshore.

"You worry, because you think it's going to fly off like it did before", she said.

In reality, the Commission has done much less for Puerto Rico post-hurricane Maria than past Commissions (both Republican-led and Democrat-led) have taken.

It's been one year since one of the strongest hurricanes made landfall on a USA territory. Shuttered businesses, blue tarp roofs and extensively damaged homes can still be seen throughout Puerto Rico and access to electricity and fresh water remain spotty.

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"Neither the people of Puerto Rico nor the victims deserve their pain to be questioned", Rosselló told CBS News.

"There's some language barriers that need to be overcome, but what we've seen is, again, the hospitality, the hotel, resort, and lodging industry have opened their doors", Jim Wall of Career Source Southwest Florida said.

Cruz-Torres added those in the coastal areas, fishermen in particular, were among the hardest hit because of the gear and boats they lost. Instead, it seems like FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is ignoring the FCC's continued role in standing up Puerto Rico's communications at all.

"The path forward is challenging and will be measured not in months, but really in years", Carson said.

"I evaluated everything they did, and it is my view that it was a very well-done estimate of the death toll numbers", Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said on Thursday during an interview with CNN. It's also important to note that the devastation from Hurricane Maria, even one year later, is unprecedented. "We stand with Puerto Rico, and we are helping them to rebuild stronger and better than ever before", it said. This is supported by data from the Federal Communications Commission, which shows that more than 77 percent of cell sites on the island were still down almost a month after Hurricane Maria made landfall.

Other reports by GizPress

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