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Puerto Rico 6 months after Hurricane Maria

Keiko Hiromi | United States

March 24, 2018, Toa Baja Puerto Rico, USA: Migel Anjel Mericado at his house inToa Baja, a municipality, located in the northern coast of Puerto Rico, 6 months after Hurricane Maria. Mericado is still living at his house and collecting everything he could save. Toa Baja was one of the hardest hit communities by Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico 6 months after Hurricane Maria

I was recently in Puerto Rico, which gave me the opportunity to photograph the island 6 months after Hurricane Maria. When I landed at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport on March 21, everything looked normal as if nothing had ever happened. As I spent 5 days travelling through Puerto Rico, sometimes away from the functioning tourist areas, I witnessed Puerto Rico in recovery, many raw scars still unmended: debris on roads, houses without roofs, but with the faces of resilient, strong, patient people, compassionate for each other.

I visited Yabucoa, where Maria first landed in Puerto Rico, then spent a day with the clean up volunteer in Toa Baja, just outside of San Juan, and lastly visited a family in Vega Alta, a rural community in the mountains, where they have not had electricity since Hurricane Irma.

The volunteer effort in Toa Baja, organized by "Mentes Puertorriqueñas en Acción" included Andrew Colarusso, the Brown University Professor, because he had learned about this opportunity from students who'd come to Brown University and attended his classes after Hurricane Maria. Colarusso, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY flew in from Providence, RI for that weekend solely to participate. In his words, " I have a civic and familial obligation to help in Puerto Rico."
 

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