Tens of thousands of people were forced to seek refuge in the Superdome, which descended into chaos and became a symbol of the city’s unpreparedness. [165] By September 28, 44 percent of the population remained without drinking water and the U.S. military was shifting from "a short term, sea-based response to a predominantly land-based effort designed to provide robust, longer term support" with fuel delivery a top priority. These are the five deadliest hurricanes in American history: The deadliest storm in American history, the Galveston hurricane killed 8,000 to 12,000 people. 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. [159] By November 8, 2017, Comfort's staff had treated 1,476 patients, including 147 surgeries and two births. [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". Prominently, Jennifer Aniston pledged a million U.S. dollars, dividing the amount equally between the Red Cross and the Ricky Martin Foundation for Puerto Rico. President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in the U.S. Virgin Islands one day after Maria hit. PREPA says there's an "event" of the 50900 line which runs north to south Previous failures of this line have affected most of the 1,473,000 customers", "Puerto Rico suffers island-wide power outage", "No Title, No Lease, No Assistance to Rebuild", "Hurricane Maria Exposes a Common Problem for Puerto Rico Homeowners: No Insurance - Only about half of houses on the island are covered by policies that protect against wind damage", "Puerto Rico population to drop 14% after hurricane", "FEMA Emptied Its Puerto Rico Warehouse Just Before Maria Struck", "How Is FEMA Preparing For Hurricane Season In Puerto Rico? [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. [196][197] Small IV bags often come pre-filled with saline or common drugs in solution, and have forced health care providers to scramble behind the scenes for alternative methods of drug delivery. After weakening slightly due to crossing Dominica, Maria achieved its peak intensity over the eastern Caribbean with maximum sustained winds of 175 mph (280 km/h) and a pressure of 908 mbar (hPa; 26.81 inHg). [130] Eight FEMA Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) teams were deployed to assist in rescue efforts. 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. [149][150][151][152] By September 24, there were thirteen United States Coast Guard ships deployed around Puerto Rico assisting in the relief and restoration efforts: the National Security Cutter USCGC James; the medium endurance cutters USCGC Diligence, USCGC Forward, USCGC Venturous, and USCGC Valiant; the fast response cutters USCGC Donald Horsley, USCGC Heriberto Hernandez, USCGC Joseph Napier, USCGC Richard Dixon, and USCGC Winslow W. Griesser; the coastal patrol boat USCGC Yellowfin; and the seagoing buoy tenders USCGC Cypress and USCGC Elm. Here they are", "Here's What Life is Like in Puerto Rico 3 Months After Hurricane Maria", "20 photos show Puerto Rico's slow recovery 2 years after Hurricane Maria", "Friends of Puerto Rico envía 300,000 libras de suministros", "1 Month Later in Puerto Rico, the Situation Is Still Horrifying", "Inside Puerto Rico's Struggle to Recover a Month After Hurricane", "Puerto Rico Is Getting a Surge of Aid, Governor Says", "Hurricane Maria Live Updates: Structural Damage at Dam Prompts Evacuations in Puerto Rico", "Post Nation 70,000 in Puerto Rico urged to evacuate immediately as dam is in 'imminent' danger of failure", "5 numbers that prove Puerto Rico is still in crisis", FEMA: "Federal Agencies Continue Hurricane Maria Response and Relief Operations", Washington Post: "Puerto Rico governor: 'We still need some more help' from Washington" by Ed O'Keefe, Stars & Stripes: "Military conducting multiple operations to help Hurricane Maria-struck Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands" By Corey Dickstein, CNN: "US Navy ship's response efforts in Puerto Rico", CBS News: "U.S. military beefs up its efforts in Puerto Rico as need for vital supplies grows", Coast Guard News: "Coast Guard continues hurricane response in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands", "Official: Hurricane Maria set Puerto Rico back decades", "FEMA Continues Hurricane Maria Response and Relief Operations", Military Times: "Hospital ship Comfort heading to Puerto Rico" by Tara Copp, "How the Connecticut National Guard is helping hurricane victims in Puerto Rico", "CT National Guard sends troops to help Puerto Rico", "First Irma, now Maria: Kentucky National Guard on rescue missions in Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico", "Kentucky Air National Guard establishes air hub for Hurricane Maria relief", "Wisconsin National Guard communications specialists deploy to Puerto Rico", "Illinois National Guardsmen Deploy To Kuwait, Puerto Rico", "Riding along with NY Air National Guard in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria", "How New York is helping Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria", "National Guard Units Across the Country Join Puerto Rico Relief Effort", "Savannah Air National Guard providing Puerto Rico disaster relief", "Hospital Ship Helps More Puerto Ricans at the Pier than at Sea", "A U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Was Sent to Puerto Rico—It's Barely Been Used", "There's a hospital ship waiting for sick Puerto Ricans -- but no one knows how to get on it", "USNS Comfort Restocks to Continue Post-Hurricane Care", "After pleas for more help, Pentagon sends one-star general to lead Puerto Rico recovery", CNN: "Vital aid stranded at Puerto Rico's main port" By Patrick Gillespie, Rafael Romo and Maria Santana, CNN: "Puerto Rico's aid is trapped in thousands of shipping containers" by Patrick Gillespie, Rafael Romo and Maria Santana, U.S. Army: "Army, DOD officials provide update on hurricane relief efforts", The Virginian-Pilot: "Navy sending another combat ship to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico" by Dan Lamothe, CNN: "Puerto Ricans fire back at Trump for critical tweets" By Ralph Ellis, "Trump Blasts Mayor of Hurricane-Devastated San Juan, Puerto Rico", "U.S. military dispatches three-star general to Puerto Rico amid charges of supply snafus", "Pentagon names 3-star general to lead Puerto Rico efforts", "Tesla Is Helping Puerto Rico Get Power After Hurricane Maria", "Puerto Rico to Get Power Relief From German Microgrid Supplier", "Solar rushes in to re-light hope in Puerto Rico", "Repair or Renovate? [224] A Harvard study found an estimated 15 excess deaths in the four months after the hurricane in interviews with 3,299 households, resulting in an estimated 793 to 8,498 excess deaths (with a 95% confidence interval). [127], The power grid was effectively destroyed by the hurricane, leaving millions without electricity. Guesstimating the Toll of Hurricane Maria By Robert VerBruggen. [citation needed], Through the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, Dominica received approximately US$19.2 million in emergency funds. 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 Many houses in La Plaine caved in or slid into rivers, and its single bridge was broken. [25], According to the non-profit environmental advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council, the island's water system was already in substandard conditions prior to hurricanes Irma and Maria. Survivors indicate that flood waters rose at least 6 ft (1.8 m) in 30 minutes, with flood waters reaching a depth of 15 feet (4.6 m) in some areas. Unofficial investigations and independent scientific studies later suggested that the death toll was likely much higher. Everything else is gone. [192] 14% of Puerto Rico had no tap water; cell service was returning with over 90% of service restored and 86% of cell towers functioning. Nearly a month after the hurricane, electricity had been restored to only 16 percent of people in St. Thomas and 1.6 percent of people in St. [85] Aside from wind-related effects, rainfall from Maria was also significant. [218][210], In September 2018, President Trump disputed the revised death toll. A month after the hurricane, most hospitals were open,[138] but most were on backup generators that provide limited power. [154] Full operations at the ports of Guayanilla, Salinas, and Tallaboa resumed on September 25, while the ports of San Juan, Fajardo, Culebra, Guayama, and Vieques had limited operations. [62][61] Streets in Fort-de-France were inundated. [86] Another person was killed upon being swept out to sea. [166] On September 29, the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp which had been providing relief activities to the island of Dominica was diverted to Puerto Rico. Chan School of Public Health, a native of Puerto Rico, was hearing dire reports of death and destruction from friends and family on the island. [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. [204] Compounding the problem in rebuilding the housing infrastructure is the fact that only about 50% of houses in Puerto Rico were covered by insurance policies that protect against wind damage, meaning that homeowners were reliant on their own money, FEMA, or other charities rather than insurance proceeds for rebuilding. [263] and less than a month later Trump described the federal response to Hurricane Maria as "an incredible, unsung success ... the best job we did was Puerto Rico [compared to hurricanes in Texas and Florida] but nobody would understand that". [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. [189] 4,246 people were still living in emergency shelters, and tourism was down by half. "[249], Frustrated with the federal government's "slow and inadequate response", relief group Oxfam announced on October 2 that it planned to get involved in the humanitarian aid effort, sending a team to "assess a targeted and effective response" and support its local partners' on-the-ground efforts. [142], The Guajataca Dam was structurally damaged, and on September 22, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for parts of the area in response. [214][215]'[dubious – discuss], The deaths of 64 people were initially directly attributed to the hurricane by the government of Puerto Rico.[218]. Puerto Rican travelers often chose to go to Orlando, Miami, New York City, and Atlanta. Catastrophic damage to infrastructure and communication hampered efforts to accurately document the total loss of life. [205] Although banks require that people with mortgages have homeowner's insurance, Puerto Rico has a low mortgage penetration rate with only 500,000 active mortgages in a population of 3 million as many homes are fully owned by families and passed to the next generation. [49] Scattered rock slides, landslides and uprooted trees caused minor damage and blocked some roads. Coffee was the worst affected crop, with 18 million coffee trees destroyed, which will require about five to ten years to bring back at least 15% of the coffee production of the island. [131] Governor Ricardo Rosselló estimated that Maria caused at least US$ 90 billion in damage[132][133] and in 2018 the US National Hurricane Center updated its list of costliest hurricanes to include that figure. [253] Trump's remarks were widely criticized for implying that Hurricane Maria was not a "real catastrophe". Why? The effort to collect the deceased and dump them in the Gulf failed, as corpses "were everywhere" and washed back ashore, according to NPR. [245] The White House contested claims that the administration was not responding effectively. [205], As a consequence of the hurricane, a population drop of approximately 14% was forecasted, due to an exodus to the mainland United States, according to a research study conducted by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies of Hunter College. Highly favorable environmental conditions allowed the storm to undergo explosive intensification as it approached the island arc. [175] The idea would be to supplement the existing electrical grid with power from solar and wind farms. "We are dying and you are killing us with the inefficiency," she said. [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. [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. [56][57], Passing 30 mi (50 km) off the northern shorelines, Maria brought torrential rainfall and strong gusts to Martinique but spared the island of its hurricane-force windfield,[58] which at the time extended 25 mi (35 km) around the eye. Nope", "Puerto Rico governor orders recount of hurricane death toll", "Puerto Rico Releases Data On Hundreds Of Deaths Following Hurricane Maria", "Lawsuits reveal data showing higher death count in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria", "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. [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]. On October 11, 2017, Vox reported 81 deaths directly or indirectly related to the hurricane, with another 450 deaths awaiting investigation. she remembered him saying. Researchers pored over tens of thousands of death certificates and interviewed scores of doctors to reach the 2,975 death toll for Hurricane Maria. [148] The United States Air Force Air Mobility Command has dedicated eight C-17 Globemaster aircraft to deliver relief supplies. [58][62] Numerous roads and streets, especially along the northern coast, were impassible due to rock slides, fallen trees and toppled power poles. The government acknowledged the death toll was greater than 64, but awaited the results of the government commissioned study to determine the true death toll.[229][230]. [119] A fourth drowning death occurred in Fernandina Beach, Florida. On August 28, 2018 (almost a year after the hurricane), Puerto Rico revised its official tally of 64[2] killed in the hurricane up to 2,975, making the total death toll 3,059: an estimated 2,975 were killed in Puerto Rico,[3] 65 in Dominica, 5 in the Dominican Republic, 4 in Guadeloupe, 4 in the contiguous United States, 3 in the United States Virgin Islands, and 3 in Haiti. [3] The official estimate of 2,975 is based on a study commissioned by the governor of Puerto Rico,[3] where researchers at George Washington University developed statistical models of excess mortality attributable to Maria, including both direct and indirect fatalities. [201] Excluding those affected by the second blackout, more than 200,000 people remained without power following Maria, on March 2, 2018. as Puerto Ricans Scramble to Help Most Vulnerable", "Does Trump care about Puerto Rico's hurricane victims? Nearly nine months after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, nobody knows how many people died because of it. In Rosalie, rushing waters gushed over the village's bridge and damaged facilities in its bay area. [136], Two weeks after the hurricane, international relief organization Oxfam chose to intervene for the first time on American soil since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. [85] Two people disappeared at sea after their vessel capsized offshore La Désirade, east of mainland Grande-Terre,[86] and they are presumed to be dead afterwards. [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. Winds of 23 mph (37 km/h) and gusts of 41 mph (66 km/h) were reported at Dare County Regional Airport at Manteo on September 27, while winds of 40 mph (64 km/h) were reported in Duck, North Carolina. [98] The primary airport in San Juan, the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, was slated to reopen on September 22. [74] The disaster affected all of the island's 53 health facilities, including the badly damaged primary hospital, compromising the safety of many patients. [212] Different legal and inheritance customs in Puerto Rico often result in there being no title deed to a property. A complete replacement of fossil fuel infrastructure is unlikely as solar and wind are too intermittent and are also vulnerable to another hurricane. In just a day, the hurricane dropped nearly a month's worth of rainfall at some important locations: Pointe-à-Pitre recorded a 24-hour total of 7.5 inches (191 mm), while the capital of Basse-Terre measured 6.4 in (163 mm). [195] This caused a months long shortage in medical supplies in the United States, especially of IV bags. That count is over 70 times higher than what the Puerto Rican government reported at 64 deaths. [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. [7] Favorable conditions along the system's path consisting of warm sea surface temperatures of 84 °F (29 °C), low wind shear, and abundant moisture aloft allowed the disturbance to consolidate and become Tropical Storm Maria 6 hours later, after satellite images had indicated that the low-level circulation of the wave had become well-defined. 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 … However, most of the 250 bed floating state-of-the-art hospital went unused despite overburdened island clinics and hospitals because there were few referrals. Everywhere needs rebuilding but there is no money to rebuild things with. [249], A Harvard Humanitarian Initiative analysis of the military deployment in March 2018 said the military mission in Puerto Rico after hurricane was better than critics say but suffered flaws. [32] Dominion North Carolina Power and Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative experienced scattered power outages. Though Maria caused catastrophic damage, the response was slower in quantitative terms. [24], Prior to both Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), already struggling with increasing debt, had seen budget cuts imposed by PROMESA as well as the loss of 30 percent of its work force since 2012. [112], The former survey ship Ferrel, carrying a family of four, issued a distress signal while battling 20-foot seas (6.1 m) and 115 mph winds (185 km/h) on September 20. [103] Eighty-five percent of above-ground phone and internet cables were knocked out. third-costliest tropical cyclone on record, Meteorological history of Hurricane Maria, International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, Effects of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Before and After María Northeast Puerto Rico Satellite Image, Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Whitefish Energy § Hurricane Maria controversy, PREPA, Puerto Rico's state-run power company, List of disasters in the United States by death toll, "Puerto Rico issues new data on Hurricane Maria deaths", "Puerto Rican Government Acknowledges Hurricane Death Toll of 1,427", "Hurricane Maria caused an estimated 2,975 deaths in Puerto Rico, new study finds", "Puerto Rican Government Admits Hurricane Maria Death Toll Was at Least 1,400", "Ascertainment of the Estimated Excess Mortality from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico", "Atlantic hurricane best track (HURDAT version 2)", "As Hurricane Maria slowly pulls away from Puerto Rico, the U.S. East Coast awaits its next move", Post-Tropical Cyclone Maria Discussion Number 59, "Potential Tropical Cyclone Fifteen Advisory Number 1", National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "Tropical Depression Fifteen Intermediate Advisory Number 1A", "Hurricane Jose lurks off the East Coast, Tropical Storm Maria threatens the Caribbean", "Hurricane Maria in the Dominican Republic", "Puerto Rico's electric company was already $9 billion in debt before hurricanes hit", "Puerto Rico's water woes raise fears of health crisis six weeks after Hurricane Maria", "Maria Latest Threat to Puerto Rico After $1 Billion Irma Hit", "2017 Hurricane Season FEMA After-Action Report", "Hurricane Maria upgraded to 'extremely dangerous' Category 4, islands including Puerto Rico brace for impact", "Puerto Rico Braces for 'Potentially Catastrophic' Hit by Hurricane Maria", "Cellphone data reveals Hurricane Maria's impact on travel in Puerto Rico", "Downgraded but still dangerous: Maria brings wind, flooding to OBX; hundreds evacuated", "Maria climbs back to hurricane status, brings wind, flood threat to OBX", Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Hurricane Maria September 18, 2017, "Cinco muertos, el resultado del huracán María en RD", "República Dominicana estima reparar daños del huracán María costará US$63 millones", "L'ouragan Maria a fait quatre morts en Guadeloupe, selon un dernier bilan", "Ouragan Maria, provisoirement 3 morts en Haïti", "Ouragan Maria : l'Etat va indemniser les agriculteurs de Guadeloupe et de Martinique", Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Table of Events, "La cifra de personas desaparecidas tras María baja a 60", "Five hurricane-related deaths confirmed", "Federal disaster relief begins on St. Croix", "3 Drown Off Jersey Shore, Dozens Rescued Despite 'No Swimming' Warning", "Man, 49, drowns in rough surf in Fernandina Beach, police say", "Flooding still possible, met office warns", "Tropical Storm Warning discontinued for St Lucia; no "All Clear" given", "Acting PM concerned about hurricane 'fake news, "LUCELEC: Hurricane Maria electricity system update #1", The flood warning for Barbados has been extended until 6:00 A.M tomorrow Tuesday 19th September, 2017, "Ouragan Maria, en direct : Saint-Martin et Saint-Barthélemy en vigilance violette", Hurricane Maria Special Advisory Number 11, "Ouragan Maria : à quoi correspondent les pluies déjà tombées", "En direct - Ouragan Maria : un mort et deux disparus en Guadeloupe, un blessé grave en Martinique", "Ouragan Maria : point de situation - 20 sept. 7h", "Hurricane Maria Does 'Mind Boggling' Damage to Dominica, Leader Says", "Maria : un voilier échoué à Fond Lahaye", "Les bananiers de Guadeloupe et de Martinique mis à terre par l'ouragan Maria", "Center of Hurricane Maria to move across Dominica tonight", "Hurricane Maria Damages Dominica's Main Hospital, Leaves 'War Zone' Conditions", "Hurricane Maria, Now Category 5, Blows Away Roof Of Dominica PM's House", "Concerns over Dominica communication blackout", "Radio Amateur on St. Lucia relays reports of hurricane devastation on Dominica", "Hurricane Maria makes landfall on Puerto Rico – live updates", "Hurricane Maria turns Dominica into 'giant debris field, Hurricane Maria: Dominica – Situation Report No. [269], San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said one week before the blackout that about 700,000 Americans in Puerto Rico didn't have power after a line repaired by Montana contracting firm Whitefish Energy had failed. [148] The United States Army Corps of Engineers deployed 670 personnel engaged in assessing and restoring the power grid; by September 25, 83 generators were installed and an additional 186 generators were en route. Puerto Rico raised the official death toll for Hurricane Maria from 64 to nearly 3,000 people after months of denying there was an issue with the count. An estimated 2,975 people died in Puerto Rico in the five months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island last September, a far higher number than the government's official death toll count of … [146] The next day, airports were reported to be operating at normal capacity.

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