[271] Further investigation revealed that the boat had been docked in New Orleans since 2016. Further, there have been accusations that FEMA policies have been applied unfairly. [137], One month after the hurricane, 88% of the island was without power (about 3 million people), 29% lacked tap water (about 1 million people), and 40% of the island had no cell service. [90], The hurricane killed two people, both in their homes: one person drowned and another was trapped by a mudslide. The gusty winds pushed the water south, washing away homes and eventually killing as many as 3,000 people, according to Palm Beach County History Online. Maria made landfall in Dominica at 01:15 UTC on September 19,[14] becoming the first Category 5 hurricane on record to strike the island nation. Securing the Future for Puerto Rico: Restoring the Island's robust Medical Product Manuring Sector, p. 4-5, EPA, 2017. With the median age of PREPA power plants at 44 years, an aging infrastructure across the island made the electric grid more susceptible to damage from storms. [73] With no access to electricity or running water, and with sewage systems destroyed, fears of widespread diarrhea and dysentery arose. [191], Politico compared the federal response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico to that for Hurricane Harvey, which had hit the greater Houston area of Texas a month earlier. [225][226][227], On December 18, 2017, Governor Rosselló ordered a recount and a new analysis of the official death toll. Maria is the deadliest hurricane in Dominica since the 1834 Padre Ruíz hurricane[4] and the deadliest in Puerto Rico since the 1899 San Ciriaco hurricane. [219] Official statistics showed increases of about 20% and 27% in overall fatalities in Puerto Rico during September 2017, compared to 2016 and 2015, followed by a decrease of about 10% in October 2017 compared to the previous two Octobers. DHS Inspector General John Roth led the FEMA audit while Governor Rosselló called for a second review by Puerto Rico's Office of Management and Budget. Unofficial investigations and independent scientific studies later suggested that the death toll was likely much higher. [232] The response was met with immediate criticism, including from Mayor of San Juan Carmen Yulín Cruz and Florida Congresswoman and fellow Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.[233]. This is an event without precedent. [239], Soon after the hurricane struck, Whitefish Energy, a small Montana-based company with only two full-time employees, was awarded a $300 million contract by PREPA, Puerto Rico's state-run power company, to repair Puerto Rico's power grid, a move considered by many to be highly unusual for several reasons. Maria arrived before supplies were replenished. [83], Throughout the archipelago, the hurricane left 40% of the population (80,000 households) without power and 25% of landline users without service. After landfall, wind gusts of 109 mph (175 km/h) were reported at Yabucoa Harbor and 118 mph (190 km/h) at Camp Santiago. The water reportedly pushed many bodies out to sea, and others remain in a marked mass grave near Grand Isle, La. [170][171] On September 29 he stated that there were not enough troops and equipment in place but more would be arriving soon. [264] Several representatives, both Democrats and Republicans, also voiced their concern over the choice to contract Whitefish instead of other companies. as Puerto Ricans Scramble to Help Most Vulnerable", "Does Trump care about Puerto Rico's hurricane victims? Three deaths were reported: a 45-year-old man died in the commune of Limbe, in the department of the North, while attempting to cross a flooded river. [33] Maria caused beach erosion at the ferry terminal at the north end of Ocracoke Island that washed out a portion of the paved lanes where vehicles wait to board the ferry. [214][215]'[dubious – discuss], The deaths of 64 people were initially directly attributed to the hurricane by the government of Puerto Rico.[218]. A brutal storm first hit Puerto Rico then Palm Springs, Fla., in September 1928. [146] The next day, airports were reported to be operating at normal capacity. [89] Damage was most extensive in the town of Frederiksted,[citation needed] on the west end of St. Croix, as well as along the southern shoreline, leaving 3 dead. 2 Years After Hurricane Maria Hit Puerto Rico, The Exact Death Toll Remains Unknown The exact number of those who died in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria … [98] The primary airport in San Juan, the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, was slated to reopen on September 22. [29] By September 19, 2017, at least 2,000 people in Puerto Rico had sought shelter. [108][109], The NEXRAD Doppler weather radar of Puerto Rico was blown away. [60] By September 19, Maria had knocked out power to 70,000 households, about 40% of the population. Puerto Rico also suffered catastrophic damage and a major humanitarian crisis; most of the island's population suffered from flooding and a lack of resources, compounded by the slow relief process. [97] Cataño saw extensive damage, with the Juana Matos neighborhood estimated to be 80-percent destroyed. People are trying to be strong in Dominica, like everything is fine, but it's not. [85][86] Homes on Terre-de-Haut Island of Les Saintes were flooded or lost their roofs. evaluation Our study shows that physician lack of awareness . [208] In addition to FEMA, Direct Relief provided important medical supplies to those affected including insulin and vaccines. Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017 and soon after, the government of Puerto Rico determined that 64 people had died. [7] Widespread flooding affected San Juan, waist-deep in some areas, and numerous structures lost their roof. The hurricane reached Category 5 strength on September 18 just before making landfall on Dominica, becoming the first Category 5 hurricane on record to strike the island. The US has more than enough resources to mobilize an emergency response, but has failed to do so in a swift and robust manner. Nearly 5,000 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria last September, according to a new report by the New England Journal of Medicine. Widespread property destruction took place with many structures leveled. [176][177] Four of the five large solar farms on Puerto Rico were damaged and many of the wind turbines suffered damaged blades. Hurricane Maria death toll may be more than 4,600 in Puerto Rico. The new death toll has refocused complaints that federal authorities have not done enough to help struggling Puerto Ricans. ", "Puerto Ricans Concerned That $20 Billion Recovery Plan Is 'Not For The People, "FEMA Has Rejected 60 Percent of Assistance Requests in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico Faces Stark Power Grid Options - The island wants to upgrade its infrastructure, but must first wait for the lights to come back on", "More solar panels mean more waste and there's no easy solution - It's going to be a major problem by 2050", "Engineer Visits Recent Natural Disaster Sites for Insight on Infrastructure Improvements", "Puerto Rico Wind - Solar - Cellular Structures Destroyed - Aerial", "Jennifer Aniston has donated $1 million to Puerto Rico to help with Hurricane Maria relief", "U.S. mail carriers emerge as heroes in Puerto Rico recovery", USA Today: "Carnival to resume sailings from San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sunday" by Gene Sloan, "Desperate Puerto Ricans are drinking water from a hazardous-waste site", "Trump hints at ending aid as Puerto Ricans forced to drink polluted water", "Expert: Water from a polluted Puerto Rico site 'safe to drink, CNN: "San Juan mayor slams Trump over tweets: He's a 'hater-in-chief'" By Leinz Vales, "Report slams local, US hurricane response in Puerto Rico", "Three Months After Maria, Roughly Half of Puerto Ricans Still Without Power", "Leading Homeland Security Under a President Who Embraces 'Hate-Filled' Talk", https://www.fda.gov/downloads/NewsEvents/Newsroom/FDAInBrief/UCM584030.pdf, "U.S. It concluded that the U.S. military itself performed as well in Puerto Rico as it does in its international relief missions, and that coordination had been greatly improved since Katrina, but that real shortcomings exist in planning for disasters. "[257], On October 12, Trump tweeted, "We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. [247] President Donald Trump responded to accusations that he does not care about Puerto Rico: "Puerto Rico is very important to me, and Puerto Rico—the people are fantastic people. Research project seeks more accurate Hurricane Maria death toll data in Puerto Rico. [268], On April 18, 2018 (Wednesday), The Associated Press reported that the entire island experienced a blackout. [127], The power grid was effectively destroyed by the hurricane, leaving millions without electricity. It did not ask us to be paid soon or a guarantee to pay". [224] Robert Anderson at the National Center for Health Statistics conveyed the increase in monthly fatalities was statistically significant and likely driven in some capacity by Hurricane Maria. But statistical estimates point to many more victims. (May 24). [68] Downing all cellular, radio and internet services, Maria effectively cut Dominica off from the outside world; the situation there remained unclear for a couple of days after the hurricane's passage. [189] On November 5, more than 100,000 people had left Puerto Rico for the mainland. The NRDC reported that seventy percent of the island had water that did not meet the standards of the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act. Also known as the Great October Storm, nearly 1,400 people are estimated to have died in a massive hurricane that wiped out a Louisiana fishing community. The historic flooding topped levees, burying New Orleans and displacing hundreds of thousands of Southerners. [271], On April 11, 2018, at the 40th session of the Regional Association Hurricane Committee, the World Meteorological Organization retired the name Maria from its rotating name lists, due to the highly extensive amount of damage and loss of life it caused along its path, especially in Dominica, Saint Croix, and Puerto Rico, and it will never again be used to name an Atlantic hurricane. [28], Evacuation orders were issued in Puerto Rico in advance of Maria, and officials announced that 450 shelters would open in the afternoon of September 18. The territorial government added satellite and radio equipment at hospitals, to prevent a communications blackout in the event the land and cell phone networks fail again. [106] Communication networks were crippled across the island. [15], Entering the Caribbean Sea, Maria weakened slightly to a Category 4 hurricane due to land interaction with the island of Dominica, however it quickly restrengthened to a Category 5 hurricane and attained its peak intensity with winds of 175 mph (280 km/h) and a pressure of 908 mbar (hPa; 26.81 inHg) at 03:00 UTC on September 20 while southeast of Puerto Rico; this ranks it as the tenth-most intense Atlantic hurricane since reliable records began. Approximately 60,000 people lost power in northern areas of the country. congresswoman Stacey Plaskett stated that 90% of buildings in the Virgin Islands were damaged or destroyed and 13,000 of those buildings had lost their roofs. Hurricane Maria; Puerto Rico Has Finally Acknowledged That Over 1,400 People Likely Died Because Of Hurricane Maria. By September 25, 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that the ports of Crown Bay, East Gregerie Channel, West Gregerie Channel, and Redhook Bay on Saint Thomas; the ports of Krause Lagoon, Limetree Bay, and Frederiksted on Saint Croix, and the port of Cruz Bay on Saint John were open with restrictions. [59] The commune of Le Marigot recorded 6.7 inches (170 mm) of rain over a 24-hour period. [6] As result, the official death toll was updated from the initial 64 to an estimated 2,975 by the Governor of Puerto Rico. [186], On October 13, the Trump administration requested $4.9 billion to fund a loan program that Puerto Rico could use to address basic functions and infrastructure needs. Furthermore, they indicated 69 people were missing. [95] In addition, heavy rainfall occurred throughout the territory, peaking at 37.9 inches (962.7 mm) in Caguas. [7] Gradual organization occurred as it progressed westward across the tropical Atlantic under the influence of a mid-level ridge that was located to the system's north,[8][9] and by 12:00 UTC on September 16, it had developed into Tropical Depression Fifteen, as deep convection consolidated and developed into curved bands wrapping into an increasingly-defined center of circulation. [237] Three months after Maria, about half the entire U.S. territory still had no power, and 25% of the U.S. territory had no cell service. [148] The United States Air Force Air Mobility Command has dedicated eight C-17 Globemaster aircraft to deliver relief supplies. Significant spikes in causes of deaths compared to the two preceding Septembers included sepsis (+47%), pneumonia (+45%), emphysema (+43%), diabetes (+31%), and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's (+23%). [164] By September 28, the Port of San Juan had only been able to dispatch 4% of deliveries received and had very little room to accept additional shipments. Hurricane Maria, experts grew increasingly concerned over how officials were recording the deaths when the Puerto Rican government’s death toll count stayed at 64 Much of the housing stock and infrastructure were left beyond repair, while the island's lush vegetation was practically eradicated. [239] The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not immediately waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico, which prevented the commonwealth from receiving any aid and supplies from non-U.S.-flagged vessels from U.S. ports (shipments from non-US ports was unaffected). [194] These factories shut down or greatly reduced production because of the hurricane, and were slowly recovering since. The storm knocked out power to 800 Duke Energy Progress customers in the Havelock area, with restoration of power expected to take several hours. Communications were largely lost across the island. [162], On September 27, the Pentagon reopened two major airfields on Puerto Rico and started sending aircraft, specialized units, and a hospital ship to assist in the relief effort; Brigadier General Richard C. Kim, the deputy commanding general of United States Army North, was responsible for coordinating operations between the military, FEMA and other government agencies, and the private sector. [196], By the end of January 2018, approximately 450,000 customers remained without power island-wide. Writing on Twitter, Trump claimed that "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", but that the Democrats had inflated the official death toll to "make me look as bad as possible". For other storms of the same name, see, Hurricane Maria at peak intensity to the southeast of. Weather stations on St. Croix recorded 10and 20 inches of rain from the hurricane, and estimates for St. John and St. Thomas were somewhat less. Many of the dead were left to decompose on rooftops and streets, drawing sharp criticism of the government's response. The radome which covers the radar antenna, and which was designed to withstand winds of more than 130 mph, was destroyed while the antenna of 30 feet in diameter was blown from the pedestal, the latter remaining intact. [167] By September 30, FEMA official Alejandro de la Campa stated that 5% of electricity, 33% of the telecommunications infrastructure, and 50% of water services had been restored to the island. These facts led to accusations of privatization and cronyism, though Zinke dismissed these claims and stated that he had no role in securing the contract. [123] At the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit called the situation in Dominica an "international humanitarian emergency". On April 19, 2018 (Thursday), Puerto Rico's power company said that it has restored electricity to all customers affected by an island-wide blackout that was caused by an excavator hitting a transmission line, but tens of thousands of families still remain without normal service seven months after hurricanes Maria and Irma. [80], Overall, the hurricane damaged the roofs of as much as 98% of the island's buildings,[74] including those serving as shelters;[72] half of the houses had their frames destroyed. [159] Patients were brought to the ship by helicopter or boat tender after being referred by Puerto Rico's Department of Health. [264] The company contracted more than 300 personnel, most of them subcontractors, and sent them to the island to carry out work. [74] The disaster affected all of the island's 53 health facilities, including the badly damaged primary hospital, compromising the safety of many patients. PREPA Executive Director Ricardo Ramos stated: "Whitefish was the only company—it was the first that could be mobilized to Puerto Rico. At least eight people died from the flooding, while many were unaccounted for. Light rainfall in the weeks following Maria alleviated this problem, although it also slowed recovery efforts, particularly rebuilding damaged rooftops. [83] Along those regions, the hurricane kicked up extremely rough seas with 20 ft (6 m) waves. [145] By October 3, there were 39 commercial flights per day from all Puerto Rican airports, about a quarter of the normal number. [7] By September 25, it passed over cooler sea surface temperatures that had been left behind by Hurricane Jose a week prior, causing its inner core to collapse and the structure of the storm to change significantly. [195][196] In January 2018, when the shortage was projected to ease, flu season hit and led to a spike in patients. Actual Deaths May Be 1,052", "New Study Estimates Hurricane Maria Death Toll in Puerto Rico Could Exceed 4,000", "Mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria", "Did exactly 4,645 people die in Hurricane Maria? [110][111], The nearby island of Vieques suffered similarly extensive damage. Carmen Yulín Cruz says there have been double the number of cremations than normal [147] The territory's government contracted 56 small companies to assist in restoring power. Trump repeatedly downplayed Hurricane Maria’s disastrous toll on Puerto Rico in the months following the storm. Calculation from provided monthly statistics. [158], On September 29, the hospital ship USNS Comfort left port at Norfolk, Virginia to help victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and arrived in San Juan on October 3. [148] The Air Force assisted the Federal Aviation Administration with air traffic control repairs to increase throughput capacity. The United States Coast Guard, United States Navy, and British Royal Navy conducted search-and-rescue operations utilizing an HC-130 aircraft, a fast response cutter, USS Kearsarge, RFA Mounts Bay and Navy helicopters. [130] The Federal Emergency Management Agency planned to open an air bridge with three to four aircraft carrying essential supplies to the island daily starting on September 22. [174] In addition, other solar companies jumped into help, including Sunnova and New Start Solar. [198] On March 1, 2018, a second major blackout occurred when a transmission line failed and caused two power stations to shut down;[200] more than 970,000 people lost electricity. [168], On September 28, 2017, Lieutenant General Jeffrey S. Buchanan was dispatched to Puerto Rico to lead all military hurricane relief efforts there and to see how the military could be more effective in the recovery effort, particularly in dealing with the thousands of containers of supplies that were stuck in port because of "red tape, lack of drivers, and a crippling power outage". [188] On October 20, only 18.5% of the island had electricity, 49.1% of cell towers were working, and 69.5% of customers had running water, with the slowest restoration in the north. [7][10], Maria gradually strengthened, and by late on September 17, although the center had temporarily become exposed, a convective burst over the center enabled it to become a hurricane. [88], Two weeks after Hurricane Irma hit St. Thomas and St. John as a Category 5 hurricane, Hurricane Maria's weaker outer eyewall was reported by the National Hurricane Center to have crossed Saint Croix while the hurricane was at Category 5 intensity. [7] Periodic bursts of convection near the center managed to maintain Maria's intensity as it accelerated east-northeast across the northern Atlantic Ocean, but interaction with an encroaching frontal zone ultimately resulted in the storm becoming an extratropical cyclone on September 30,[19] which continued east-northeastward, before dissipating on October 2. forever! [16] Maria weakened significantly while traversing Puerto Rico, but was able to restrengthen to a major hurricane once it emerged over the Atlantic later that afternoon, eventually attaining a secondary peak intensity with winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) on September 22, while north of Hispaniola. [53][54] Maria stirred up rough seas that flooded coastal sidewalks in Bridgetown and damaged boats as operators had difficulties securing their vessels. They estimated 2,658–3,290 additional people died in the six months after the hurricane over the expected background rate, after accounting for emigration from the island. [35], Blustery conditions spread over Guadeloupe as Maria tracked to the south of the archipelago, which endured hours of unabating hurricane-force winds. [64] Martinique's agricultural sector suffered considerable losses: about 70% of banana crops sustained wind damage, with nearly every tree downed along the northern coast. [210], As of January 2019, the Department of Housing and Urban Development had allocated nearly $20 billion in grants to aid Puerto Rico's reconstruction. [266] Governor Rosselló subsequently ordered an audit of the contract's budget. [238], The U.S. government hurricane response was criticized as inadequate and slow. When President Donald Trump visited Puerto Rico on October 3, he praised Hurricane Maria's relatively low death toll -- then 16. [5] The death toll in Puerto Rico was initially reported as 64 by Puerto Rican authorities but revised after several studies estimated between 1,400 and 5,740 deaths were attributable to the storm. Impact in the Greater Antilles and the United States. [244], San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz called the disaster a "terrifying humanitarian crisis" and on September 26 pleaded for relief efforts to be sped up. Scores of people who survived the hurricane's initial onslaught later died from complications in its aftermath. [6] Researchers attribute the discrepancy with the initial death count to "lack of awareness of appropriate death certification practices after a natural disaster" among physicians reporting deaths to vital statistic agencies. [113], Maria's Category 4 winds broke a 96-foot (29 m) line feed antenna of the Arecibo Observatory, causing it to fall 500 feet (150 m) and puncturing the dish below, greatly reducing its ability to function until repairs could be made. [citation needed] Efforts to rebuild homes and buildings across the island were steady, albeit slowed due to lack of funds. [101] Approximately 80 percent of the territory's agriculture was lost due to the hurricane, with agricultural losses estimated at $780 million. Hospitals Wrestle With Shortages of Drug Supplies Made in Puerto Rico", "Hospitals find other ways to deliver medicine amid IV bag shortage", "Hurricane Damage To Manufacturers In Puerto Rico Affects Mainland Hospitals, Too", "Explosion At Substation Plunges Parts Of Puerto Rico Into Darkness Once Again", "Puerto Rico capital hit by power blackout for second day in a row", "Another major blackout hits Puerto Rico after 2 power plants shut down", "BREAKING: A massive power outage is being reported across Puerto Rico, from the southern part of the island to the north. [6], Maria originated from a tropical wave that left the western coast of Africa on September 12. Even before government officials locked the Hurricane Maria death toll in at 64, statistics-based estimates by a number of different sources indicated that the actual total could to… [91] The Luis Hospital suffered roof damage and flooding, but remained operational. [250] The organization released a statement, saying in part: "While the US government is engaged in relief efforts, it has failed to address the most urgent needs. [citation needed], Through the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, Dominica received approximately US$19.2 million in emergency funds. That’s nearly the population of the entire town — which had a post office, school, shrimp cannery and resort hotel, according to NOLA.com. [265] The decision to hire such a tiny company was considered highly unusual by many, such as former Energy Department official Susan Tierney, who stated: "The fact that there are so many utilities with experience in this and a huge track record of helping each other out, it is at least odd why [the utility] would go to Whitefish". You know, or divest of that asset?" [58][62] Numerous roads and streets, especially along the northern coast, were impassible due to rock slides, fallen trees and toppled power poles. Puerto Rico's electric grid has suffered in the months since Hurricane Maria struck the island. [134], On September 26, 2017, 95% of the island was without power, less than half the population had tap water, and 95% of the island had no cell phone service. It is regarded as the worst natural disaster in recorded history to affect those islands and was also the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Mitch in 1998. 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