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.
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.
After 11 months, power is virtually fully restored in Puerto Rico. But the grid is still fragile, and there’s no estimate of when an overhaul to make it stronger will begin.