Puerto Ricans mark 1 year since Hurricane Maria

Leroy Wright
September 22, 2018

The governor of Puerto Rico said Thursday there is no doubt that there were almost 3,000 deaths as a result of Hurricane Maria, disputing President Donald Trump's assertion that the figure was artificially inflated.

Her complaints were echoed at a Capitol Hill conference Thursday where experts called for a 9/11 Commission-style investigation into the government's response to the storm that left an estimated 3,000 people dead, making it the deadliest American natural disaster in a century.

In this September 8, 2018 photo, Alma Morales Rosario poses for a portrait between the beams of her home being rebuilt after it was destroyed by Hurricane Maria one year ago in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Morovis, Puerto Rico.

Make The Road plans to hold demonstrations, meetings or some activity every 20th of the month with the goal of aiding the people of Puerto Rico, spokeswoman Ashleigh Strange said.

Nivia Rodriguez, a 60-year-old retiree whose uncle died a week after Maria, is among those disgruntled by Trump's comments, as well as by videos of rescue crews responding to Hurricane Florence in North Carolina. Instead, it seems like FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is ignoring the FCC's continued role in standing up Puerto Rico's communications at all.

He says rebuilding homes has been the primary focus. "Today we are joined to raise a prayer for all the Puerto Rican sisters and brothers who died as a result of Hurricane Maria".

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Two years ago, flooding ruined the baseboards and carpet of the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Spring Lake. In Conway, South Carolina authorities said residents could see damage in homes that have not flooded before.

Make The Road Pennsylvania organized the vigil to recognize Hurricane Maria's landfall on the USA territory as well as to decry what many in attendance said was an unacceptable response by the US government.

In recent weeks, Puerto Ricans have become increasingly angry and frustrated as President Donald Trump touted what he said was a "fantastic" response to Hurricane Maria, calling it an "unsung success" as he denied the official death toll without presenting any evidence. Both storms reached Category 5 levels of intensity at different points in their development.

"FEMA leadership acknowledged that the agency could have better anticipated that the severity of hurricanes Irma and Maria would cause long-term, significant damage to the territories' infrastructure", the report said.

Cuomo also says a memorial to the victims of Maria is being planned.

"To see the island of enchantment was a deep and painful experience", he said. Her father, 93, and mother, 82, did not have their electricity restored until the second week of May, and one year later the house is about 80 percent repaired, she said.

Torres wants Puerto Ricans living on the mainland to know they can do something about the government's response. The money will be used to fix and rebuild homes, relocate people and help them obtain property titles if needed.

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