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Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were hit by power outages and widespread flooding Monday as remnants of the Atlantic season's first hurricane provided an initial test of how far they have recovered from last year's devastating storms.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico last September, Julio Ildefonso and his mother watched as their wooden home in Bayamón was blown away.

The island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, is an isolated place known both for its remote beaches and the decades during which the U.S. Navy used those beaches for bombing runs and training exercises.

Vieques has long been a hard place to stay for locals, but a good place for visitors. Now, nine months after Hurricane Maria, that dynamic is even more at play.

Spc. Samuel Keenan / FEMA

Displaced Puerto Rican families who were preparing to leave their hotels and motels on Thursday will get to stay a bit longer.

A judge has stopped FEMA from ending its housing assistance program for Puerto Rican families displaced by hurricane Maria. 

YUISA RIOS / FEMA

The federal program that has provided hotel vouchers to Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria will end on Saturday, and advocates are worried some Tampa Bay families will be left with nowhere to go.

Updated at 9:35 a.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has visited Puerto Rico six times since the island was ravaged by Hurricane Maria last year. He's brought aid, advice, and on one trip, even a delegation of utility providers to consult on how best to restore the island's tattered power grid.

A big discrepancy between Puerto Rico’s official death toll from Hurricane Maria and lives lost according to Harvard researchers has prompted U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) and other Democrats to call for new standards in counting storm deaths.

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the federal government signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Carnival Corporation to help house federal aid workers and first responders on the company's Fascination cruise ship in the United States Virgin Islands.

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.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

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. 

 

 


Caribbean American Civic Movement

A small street festival outside Miami features booths adorned with Puerto Rican flags. A band plays salsa music as vendors offer specialties from the Caribbean island such as rice with pork and chickpeas. There's also a woman working her way through the crowd with a clipboard, her white T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Your vote, your voice, your future."

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.

Steven Shepard / FEMA

An island-wide blackout hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday after an excavator accidentally downed a transmission line, officials said, as the U.S. territory struggles to repair an increasingly unstable power grid nearly seven months after Hurricane Maria.

Yuisa Rios / FEMA

Puerto Rican veterans will be reuniting for the first time in 30 years Saturday, and they’ll be raising awareness about the current situation on the island.

For most of the veterans, this will be the first time seeing each other since they were stationed at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, in the 1980s and 1990s.

Office of the Governor

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.

Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder

  Farmers in Puerto Rico are still reeling from the devastation from Hurricane Maria. Many coffee, banana and tobacco crops are lost, as is a lot of livestock.

 

Kev Cook / Flickr

With three strong hurricanes, wildfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes and drought, the United States tallied a record high bill last year for weather disasters: $306 billion.

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.

Staff Sgt. Carmen Fleischmann / Florida Army National Guard

Just like 2004 and 2005 – Florida will remember 2017 as the year of hurricanes especially Hurricane Irma. It was a year that the Florida National Guard learned some new lessons in disaster response.

Florida activated its National Guard troops days before Hurricane Irma made landfall on Sept. 10 in the Florida Keys.

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.

House Republicans on Monday unveiled an $81 billion disaster aid package to help hurricane-ravaged communities and states hit by wildfires, almost double the amount requested by President Donald Trump.

It's no secret that we've had a rough fall and winter with natural disasters. Even as we write this, fires burn in Southern California, adding to the previous wildfires in the northern part of the state that burned over 245,000 acres in October.

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey devastated communities across Florida and Texas, while touching communities in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, the Carolinas and Louisiana.

Seven humanitarian groups from all over the country came together Sunday under the umbrella of the Puerto Rico Recovery Alliance to bring much-needed aid to the island.  

Ever since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the groups of volunteers that make up the alliance have been making individual trips to the U.S. territory to help.

Their mission on Sunday was to deliver 30,000 pounds of medical supplies to hospitals in Puerto Rico — and evacuate about 80 people in need of medical assistance or other support they can’t get on the island.

With the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season finally over, scientists are taking stock of what they say was a monumental year.

A total of 10 hurricanes swept the region. Six were major storms of Category 3 or higher, and three of those were Category 4 or higher when they made landfall, spreading havoc from the Caribbean to Texas.

The Atlantic Ocean is vast and has always made its own weather. But a typical year sees about six hurricanes, not 10. And three strong hurricanes hitting land — Harvey, Irma and Maria — is extraordinary.

So what's going on?

DeVaughn Putna Farrington / Facebook St. Croix Hurricane Maria Check In page

Thousands of Floridians have been helping people who were victims of hurricanes that battered the state and Puerto Rico.

Yuisa Rios / FEMA

More than two months after Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, thousands are still fleeing the island and many are coming to Florida.

This week on Florida Matters we'll discuss the impact of the Puerto Rican migration to Florida during the latest edition of our monthly news roundtable.


Steven Shepard / FEMA

This week on Florida Matters we're hosting another edition of our monthly news roundtable. We'll discuss how the Puerto Rican migration to Florida after Hurricane Maria could impact our state.

Wikimedia Commons

Ten-year-old Anthony Valencia says that after Hurricane Maria destroyed his home in Puerto Rico he played video games for a month until he was sick of them. Now his smile stretches wide when he talks about going back to school — on the U.S. mainland.

The media shapes public perception about current events, but that doesn’t mean we all see or hear the same things. A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a platform for “studying media ecosystems” that reveals how news events are framed by media outlets around the world.

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