NY sending more college students to help rebuild Puerto Rico


NY state has contributed food, water and first-aid supplies and dispatched utility workers, nurses and other skilled professionals to Puerto Rico since the island was devastated by the hurricane a year ago this week.

Maria destroyed Puerto Rico's electricity grid, leaving the island largely without power for weeks and crippling its health care system.

According to the Puerto Rican government, the updated death toll is just shy of 3,000, making it one of the deadliest storms in US history.

The work was part of the CUNY Service Corps - Puerto Rico effort and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative.

A girl helps her mother carry donated food and other staples handed out to residents in need September 13 by the MARC Ministry, a nonprofit charity in Manati, Puerto Rico. Major power outages are still being reported, tens of thousands of insurance claims still are pending, and about 60,000 homes still have temporary roofs unable to withstand a Category 1 hurricane. The San Juan mayor has noted that the island has seen only a fraction of nearly $50 billion in recovery funds Congress approved for Puerto Rico, including $20 billion in HUD funds.

During the ceremony with Carson in San Juan, Rossello said the US island was still recovering from hurricanes Irma and Maria and added that Puerto Ricans were grateful for the Trump's administration "committed attention to the recovery of the island".

Calderon said Thursday that the current problems on the island are largely a "man-made crisis thanks to what's happened here in Washington, D.C." and the government's response.

President Donald Trump previously tweeted that "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico".

"When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths".

"I went into depression, the whole year I've been under depression", she said.

And as American disaster relief efforts turn their focus to the Carolinas and the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, Puerto Ricans have stopped holding their breath waiting for Trump's self-aggrandized success to actually materialize, while continuing to band together in efforts to rebuild the island, by whatever means possible.

"The path forward is challenging and will be measured not in months, but really in years", Carson said.

On Thursday, Trump issued a one-sentence statement on the one-year anniversary of Maria.

"We lost people, roofs and houses, but our community worked hard to get back on its feet", said Wilfredo Lopez, a community leader of the Sonadora neighborhood in Aguas Buenas, which had disaster-trained residents and its own protocols in place before the storm hit.

"It's too much", she said. Almost all of the island's cellular towers have also been restored.

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