Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico not that long ago, and the some Puerto Rican’s were forced to flee their homes. Many came to New York City looking for safety and someplace to call home, but have now found themselves in a constant state of uncertainty. They don’t know if they should stay or if they should go, they are waiting with uncertainty to find out if their homes will even be recovered.
The city has set up hurricane service centers to offer as much help as possible to these people. One particular, located in Harlem, generally sees roughly 35 families per day who need help getting benefits like Medicaid and SNAP. Back at their home, in Puerto Rico, the situation is getting better but very slowly. Electricity is still unstable, its generation changes each week. Water is still not safe to use without boiling. The efforts to reconstruct are going at a snails pace, and government contracts as well as the islands rough terrain have made everything even more difficult. Recent immigrants from Puerto Rico noted that there was water but not enough electricity for lights, supermarket shelves were almost empty, nothing is even open. For those who have stayed behind, there is no work, no income, and people are living in conditions like those of a third world nation.
Hurricane Maria made it’s landfall on Puerto Rico on September 20 leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Thousands were left with no electricity or water, and many are still waiting for their chance to escape the island. There are no exact numbers on how many people fled to the mainland from Puerto Rico, Florida does note that since October 3 they alone have received over 218,000 people. New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, originally from Pierto Rico before coming to New York, has openly voiced her criticism of the federal and territorial government and how they responded to the crisis of Maria. She is working to pressure the administration as well as the Senate and Congress to do more, she expects them to step up and do what is right by Puerto Rico. For more information on this and some people’s personal recounts of their lives since Maria hit their island, check out this BuzzFeed article.