In the year since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, residents have been picking up the pieces. As communities rebuild and daily life reaches a new normal, optimism outweighs despair across the island. "Puerto Rico se levanta," residents say — Puerto Rico is rising again.
Tropical forests like El Yunque have evolved to recover from hurricanes. But if those storms grow more intense or frequent, forests may be less able to bounce back. And that could hurt communities that depend on the forest for water.
Hurricane Maria’s waves clawed away at the sand, reducing the width of the broad beach by approximately 90 percent. But it wasn’t just that the familiar landscape disappeared — it left La Boca defenseless.
To say that the island of 3.3 million has not yet recovered — from the damage or the trauma — is an understatement. One year after Maria, nearly every pillar of Puerto Rican society remains devastated.
Rosamari Palerm transferred to a school in Miami last fall after her school shut down in the wake of Hurricane Maria. She’s returned home to San Juan, but some of her classmates have stayed, making new homes in Miami.
More than 260 schools in Puerto Rico closed this summer due to low enrollment after Maria. A group of women want to transform one in western Puerto Rico into an educational center to revive the region’s coffee industry.