For Puerto Rico’s poor, hurricane was heavy blow

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez

Modal Trigger Alexandra Ocasio Cortez Getty Images

According to the Puerto Rican government, the updated death toll is just shy of 3,000, making it one of the deadliest storms in USA history.

Secretary Carson said his agency plans to set aside $1.5 billion as relief efforts continue in Puerto Rico.

Cuomo has faulted President Donald Trump's response to Maria, saying the federal government has ignored the needs of millions of Americans still struggling to recover from the storm.

The mayor went on to criticize the Trump administration's response, calling it "structured negligence" that "allowed Puerto Ricans to die".

"If he calls a success or an unsung success 3,000 people dying by his watch, definitely he doesn't know what success is", San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, a Trump critic, told Reuters during a recent interview.

Make The Road Pennsylvania organized the vigil to recognize Hurricane Maria's landfall on the US territory as well as to decry what many in attendance said was an unacceptable response by the USA government.

Hurricane Maria made its mark on CT as dozens of families uprooted by the storm, are still living here in the state. Picture taken September 18, 2018.

"It shows people can help each other if they want to", she said.

The lawsuits also seek $2.6 billion in damages for those who have not been compensated since the Category 4 storm hit on Sept 20. A year after Maria, the island is far from prepared for the next big storm, with an ever-fragile power grid, damaged infrastructure and the same crippling debt.

More than 200,000 people left the island after the storm, mostly to the USA mainland, according to government data. Despite blue tarps still covering missing roofs on thousands of homes, and citizens living with unstable access to electricity or clean drinking water, little help has arrived from cash-strapped local governments or the Trump administration.

On Thursday, Ben Carson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced in San Juan that $1.5 billion was being released to Puerto Rico as part of the overall $20 billion pledged for rebuilding, the largest in the agency's history.

The recovery process after Maria has also seen hundreds of community-driven efforts.

"We lost people, roofs and houses, but our community worked hard to get back on its feet", said Wilfredo Lopez, a community leader of the Sonadora neighborhood in Aguas Buenas, which had disaster-trained residents and its own protocols in place before the storm hit.

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