Pic Description Homes and debris remain untouched on July 1, months after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. ©TierraLady, 2018.

A year after Hurricane Maria decimated the island of Puerto Rico, residents are still reeling from its impacts and recovery is far from a reality. In the past year, the hazards community has learned much about ways in which colonialism, depressed infrastructure, poverty, and systemic inequities can collide to turn an extreme hazard into the worst of disasters—and there’s still much more to learn.

Shortly after the hurricane hit, the Natural Hazards Center Quick Response Research Program mobilized researchers to collect perishable data from that storm, as well as Hurricane Harvey and Irma. We’ve recently published the results from two of these efforts that examine how Hurricane Maria affected Puerto Ricans, both on the island and in the diaspora displaced to the mainland.

Radio Practices and Their Impacts during Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
After the hurricane struck, most of the island was left without electricity and had little access to communication avenues such as phone or Internet. In this isolated atmosphere, Puerto Rican radio stations became a main source of information, as well as other support, even as broadcasters struggled to maintain their operations and infrastructure and care for their own families. This research examines the key role radio journalists played during Hurricane Maria, including how they prepared for the storm, how they functioned afterwards, and what they’d do differently to get ready for a similar event.

The Effects of Displacement on Puerto Rican K-12 Students in Florida after Hurricane Maria
Disruptions in education are never easy, but the thousands of school-aged children forced to relocate from Puerto Rico to the mainland United States faced a myriad of challenges. In addition to the normal stresses of a new school, they had to grapple with culture shock, trauma, uncertain living situations, and language barriers. This research looks at how a Florida school district and the surrounding communities experienced a large influx of students displaced by the hurricane and impacts that it had for both the students, and the education practices in the district.

Read more Quick Response research and look for new releases on the Quick Response report page.