Traces of María, one year after the hurricane

Recovery advances slowly in the 21 municipalities hit by the eye of the hurricane. The memory of those days remains among the neighbors while a hopeful future rises on the horizon.September 20, 2018

Versión en español


One year after the strongest hurricane that hit Puerto Rico in a century, El Nuevo Día visited the 21 towns impacted by the eye of the cyclone, according to the National Weather Service, and where María left the most destructive marks.

Along with the neighbors, El Nuevo Día run through the memories of those days; the road to reconstruction and the struggles that remain regarding housing, aid, infrastructure and social assistance. But also, about how they see a future that, despite the hurricane experience, appears tied to hope and reconstruction.

I. The arrival of the hurricane

María made landfall at dawn and entered through Yabucoa. On its way, it hit Maunabo, Patillas and Guayama. In this chapter: how the first towns hit by the hurricane fought and recovered.

Yabucoa, the first town hit by María, struggles to come out of depression

On September 20, the hurricane entered through that municipality devastating it. One year later, they work to improve their neighbors mental health.

Maunabo recovers its agriculture from the hands of young people

Although Hurricane María destroyed all the crops in the municipality, the number of young farmers is increasing.

Sea and land in Patillas still show the impact of María

Local fishermen fight to survive in a battered industry.

Talk by cell phone or surf the web, the challenge that Puerto Ricans managed to overcome

More than 60% of the villages were isolated and in the rest there was hardly any signal. A year later, most of the island has recovered, but in Guayama the problems persist.

II. On the way to the mountains of the island

María´s fierce winds headed to San Lorenzo, Caguas, Cidra and Cayey sweeping everything away. How are these towns recovering one year after the hurricane?

Calm returns to the San Lorenzo mountains

After a year of hurricane Maria, the residences begin to experience recovery, while others still live under blue roofs.

Athletes of Caguas did shine despite the challenges brought by María

Puerto Rico achieved 87 medals at the Games of Barranquilla, 12 made their way to the island with the criollos.

They are 10 in the family and since the hurricane they live huddled together in a small house in Cayey

They had to move all together after Hurricane Maria destroyed their homes. This is the life of thousands of Puerto Ricans.

The residents of Cidra, the first line of response to the emergency

Families and communities in Cidra showed their commitment to self-management and solidarity to help the municipality recover.

III. Through the Mountains

Naranjito, Corozal and Morovis resisted from above along with Comerío y Aguas Buenas. Meanwhile, Bayamón could not avoid the winds. People there still have so many needs but they are fighting to move forward.

Aguas Buenas: life trapped in blue

While some still live with blue roofs, the story of a 65-year-old neighbor who is trying to have somewhere to sleep echoes on the island.

“The river destroyed us but also united us”

One year after María, Comerío has turned green but the wounds left by the hurricane remain open.

The ice, that whim that became an urgent necessity

The lack of energy and cooling means left by hurricane María triggered the demand for ice cubes. The factories could not cope and had to produce them day and night. Twelve months later, ice sales continue to rise.

“It's a date that I will never forget”

Hurricane María stepped into the Barrio Nuevo de Naranjito with her colossal feet. Talking about it is like shaking a wet tree: memories fall. They do not wet, but soak.

The barracks of anguish and unexpected heroes, haunted by the ghost of María

The Corozal Police experienced a dramatic rescue during the hurricane. The officers do not forget those days, and warn that they will not expose themselves to danger again.

“I was scared, asking God to let us cross the river to see our family”

The women who became a symbol in Morovis remember the days when they crossed the overflowed river after hurricane María ripped of the bridge that connected their neighborhood with others. They reaffirm remember those days of isolation.

IV. The exit

The hurricane left the island through Quebradillas, Hatillo and Camuy, but before that, it left a trail of destruction in Florida, Manatí and Vega Baja. In this chapter you can see how the neighbors recovered their lives after the cyclone.

A new life for coral reefs in Vega Baja

A group of volunteers carries out a program of planting these marine animals that leave more than $1,400 million a year on the island, while the authorities seek $31 million to rehabilitate them after the impact of the hurricanes.

Planting trees, sowing life so that Manati coasts can be reborn

Hurricane Maria swept away the coastal forests that cushioned the impact on the town. Now, they are working to reforest the area.

Neighbors in Florida still not recovering from the death of their pets

One year after Hurricane María, the community of Selgas continues to mourn the loss of their animals, while the pond that flooded the community is still a threat.

Arecibo anchors its hopes in the growth of tourism

Although reconstruction -and flood control- is going slow due to the delay in the release of funds, the municipality is betting on several tourism initiatives as a way out of the crisis.

Milk production advances at a slow pace in Hatillo

The impact of the hurricane left the island almost without dairy products, but thanks to the perseverance of the farmers the industry is working again.

Camuy needs help for its agriculture to flourish after María

Although the hurricane caused serious damage, farmers say that their problems are prior to the storm and ask the people to bet on their products.

The fear of Guajataca waters, the sword of Damocles for Quebradillas

In this town, beyond material losses, neighbors still carry a heavy emotional burden.

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