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PUERTO RICO, TWO YEARS LATER

THE LONG AND TWISTED ROAD TO RECOVERY

In September 2017, the United States’ island territory of Puerto Rico, with an estimated population of 3,337,177, endured a one-two punch from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The hurricanes destroyed the island’s already fragile infrastructure, leaving it without electricity and communications and making roads impassable.

Irma, a Category 5 hurricane (winds of 157 mph or greater), arrived Sept. 6, 2017, with the eye passing just north of Puerto Rico. It hammered the island with tropical storm-force winds and heavy rains, causing widespread damage, collapsed structures, uprooted trees that blocked roads, and the near-total loss of electricity and clean water for several days.

Without time to recover or even assess the damage caused by Irma, just 14 days later, on Sept. 20, Maria made landfall as a category 4 hurricane (130 to 156 mph winds) with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. Maria thrashed the island, with some areas reporting almost 38 inches of rain within a 48-hour period.

The rainfall from Irma and Maria resulted in fl ash fl ooding and landslides too numerous to count, which further blocked roadways and covered homes and structures. The Guajataca Dam, which forms a reservoir holding roughly 11 billion gallons of water, su_ ered structural damage. The island’s communication and transportation systems were seriously damaged, and the power grid was destroyed, which resulted in massive outages and at least 1,000 residents waiting 18 months before electricity was restored.

FACT-FINDING

At the time of writing, fi nding credible and accurate information regarding the events that followed this disaster was much like a scavenger hunt, with even the death toll in question. Initial o_ cial death tolls were three from Hurricane Irma and 64 from Hurricane Maria. Later, two separate studies were conducted on the death toll. The fi rst, conducted by the Harvard Center for Health and Human Rights, was released in May 2018 online at the New England Journal of Medicine, and estimates 4,645 deaths were attributable to Maria, of which about one-third occurred due to lack of access or delayed access to health care.

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American Survival Guide September 2019, How To : Cyber Security, AMBER HARGROVE is a Survivor ! Kershaw Folders + CCW Stealth Wears, And More....