Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Puerto Rico holds ceremonies to mark one year since deadly Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico holds ceremonies to mark one year since deadly Hurricane Maria

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Clapping and raising their hands to the sky, hundreds of people clad in white gathered at an 18th-century fort in the Puerto Rican capital on Thursday to remember the thousands who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria as the US territory struggles to recover one year after the Category 4 storm hit.

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.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, left, greets Puerto Rico Secretary of the Department of Public Security Hector Pesquera, right, during a remembrance ceremony convened by Governor Ricardo Rossello at the San Cristobal Castle, on the anniversary of Hurricane Maria, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.

Could the failure of the island's communications infrastructure be to blame for the death undercount?

The recovery process after Maria has also seen hundreds of community-driven efforts. This is supported by data from the Federal Communications Commission, which shows that more than 77 percent of cell sites on the island were still down almost a month after Hurricane Maria made landfall. It's unclear, even one year later, exactly how much of the island's copper network (landline) was damaged.

He says rebuilding homes has been the primary focus.

Reading vigil marks one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria

"And why, when Katrina struck, did they pay 100 percent of the emergency work and they did not extend this to Puerto Rico?"

Trump has said "3000 people did not die" following Hurricane Maria, disputing the George Washington study estimating the storm killed 2,975 people directly or indirectly from September 2017 through mid-February.

Cuomo also says a memorial to the victims of Hurricane Maria is being planned. It made her hopeful for the future. The report was thorough and was released nine months after Katrina made landfall in the Gulf region. "As a people, we have the right as well as the obligation to respect that space to bid farewell to all those who lost their lives with the dignity and respect that this tragedy represents".

It's important to note that though Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, Puertoriqueños are American citizens and are completely under the jurisdiction of the FCC.

Back in Washington, Trump has continued to claim that his administration's response to Maria was both well executed, and underappreciated, despite independent analyses painting a more dastardly picture. And because Puerto Rico's infrastructure and financial standing was already in need of help before Maria, the natural and government-led disasters that followed have turned a delicate situation into an untenable one.

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Ms Markle praised the group, saying the diversity of the women was "pretty outstanding" with 12 countries represented. One wrote: "Harry is so proud of Meghan ", while another said: "Oh my gosh".

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