WNPR

Puerto Rico

At least 1,800 displaced students enrolled in Connecticut's public schools, including about 40 new schoolchildren at the Maria Sanchez School in Hartford.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

School districts in Connecticut that took in evacuees in the wake of Hurricane Maria will receive $10.6 million in federal aid from the United States Department of Education. The money is the long-awaited funding that will be used to help schools that took in students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Update: The Puerto Rican government acknowledged in a preliminary draft recovery plan submitted to Congress that it is likely more than 1,400 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Another study is out that places the death toll related to Hurricane Maria much higher than the estimate originally put out by the Puerto Rican government.

Jose Jimenez-Tirado

When Hurricane Maria barreled into Puerto Rico last year, it swept away homes, businesses, and jobs. Not only did it leave a catastrophic environmental mess, but Maria also blew away any remaining cover for the island’s dire fiscal crisis. That’s affecting the basics of life like power and education, but it goes further. Shifting financial priorities are also affecting the arts.

Blue tarps still dot rooftops, homes lack electricity needed to refrigerate medicines, and clinics chip away at debts incurred from running generators. Yet despite these residual effects from last year's devastating hurricanes, Puerto Rico is moving ahead with major cuts to its health care safety net that will affect more than a million of its poorest residents.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

You only have to ask Ramón Luis Morales once to know that the trauma of Hurricane Maria is still fresh.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The state of Connecticut has set aside $1.5 million to meet the needs of Puerto Rican evacuees and the Connecticut municipalities that took them in for the current fiscal year.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Alberto Díaz lost most of what he had when Maria passed through. Nine months later, he is making opportunity out of disaster. His kitchen is a kitchen again. He used some wood he found to make a homemade tostonera -- a tool for smashing green plantains. Someone was throwing out a basketball court, so he took it, cleaned it, cut it, and now he’s got new wooden floors.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, is an isolated place known both for its remote beaches and the decades during which the U.S. Navy used those beaches for bombing runs and training exercises.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Hurricane Maria blew away the backyard retiree clubhouse Angel Luis Cotto built as a place to relax. He misses it, and, as a new storm threatened to pass just to the south of Puerto Rico Monday, Cotto said he’d prefer she stay far away.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

This hour, we learn about a new online series about "extreme inequality" in Connecticut.

We also look at trends in white shark activity off the coast of Cape Cod.

But first, an update on hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. How well-equipped are the island and its residents to face a possible next storm?

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Advocates for families relocated from Puerto Rico want the Federal Emergency Management Agency to come up with a longer-term solution for Transitional Shelter Assistance for Hurricane Maria evacuees.

Nine months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, there are an estimated 300 families still living in hotels in Massachusetts with FEMA and the state footing the bill.

Puerto Rico's government began complying with a court order and released partial records Tuesday of deaths following Hurricane Maria. The data reveal that there were 1,427 more deaths in the last four months of 2017 than the average over the four years before. The new count comes as questions swirl around the official death toll and reports that hundreds of bodies remain unclaimed in the island's main morgue.

Damaged houses in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill on Tuesday that allows school districts to work together to help teach students from Puerto Rico who were displaced by Hurricane Maria. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

There has been a lot of confusion about how many people died in Puerto Rico as the result of Hurricane Maria and its aftermath. Several publications reported last week that approximately five-thousand people may have died. They based their reports on a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine that reflected more ambiguity than often reported.  

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