Puerto Rico marks 1 year since Maria with choirs, protests

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez

"A year after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, President Trump has shown his contempt for the people of Puerto Rico time and again by denying the damage that was done, insulting the victims and lying about the staggeringly high death toll".

Once there, they repaired and replaced roofs, windows and doors, in addition to sanitizing and removing mold from homes. Charity workers have said the number of needy lining up for food has doubled since the Hurricane Maria, and there are days when they run out of food.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite of Hurricane Maria as it reached its most powerful point on September 20, 2017, just as it reached Puerto Rico.

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There are still some 45,000 homes with so-called "blue roofs", or tarps installed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"People need direct help here through local communities rather than through the government because we don't know what happens to the money once the government gets it", Rodriguez told Bloomberg News.

In a series of personal accounts of the storm and its aftermath from island residents, compiled by the Times, Puerto Ricans repeatedly reported second-class treatment, illustrating that huge gap in support for natural disasters on the mainland like Harvey and last week's Hurricane Florence, and the response to Maria offshore. Protests were planned in San Juan and elsewhere, as well as a funeral procession.

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The storm knocked out power and communications to virtually all of island's 3.2 million residents, while destroying the homes of thousands.

Jose Ortiz, director of Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority, told reporters that 20 percent of repairs made to the power grid need to be redone. 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. This school system was struggling long before the hurricane. Among them was a group of artists unveiling an exhibition called simply, "6:15 A.M".

He said the exhibition walks a fine line, with some paintings showing lovely landscapes alongside trailers set up by Puerto Rico's forensics institute as part of the effort to try to identify the bodies of those who perished in the storm.

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"The point is for people to have a good time", Banuchi said. The money will be used to fix and rebuild homes, relocate people and help them obtain property titles if needed. "Maria is still a hard topic".

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