Hurricane Maria

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After $3.8B Spend, Puerto Rico Power Grid Still 'Highly Fragile'

It's almost certain to collapse in the next hurricane

(Newser) - After an eight-month, $3.8 billion federal effort to try to end the longest blackout in United States history, officials say Puerto Rico's public electrical authority, the nation's largest, is almost certain to collapse again when the next hurricane hits this island of 3.3 million people. "... More »

Official Maria Death Toll Is 64. New Study Suggests 4,645

Harvard researchers say government figure for Puerto Rico is 'substantial underestimate'

(Newser) - The official government death toll in Puerto Rico from devastating Hurricane Maria stands at 64. A new assessment led by Harvard researchers puts the figure closer to 5,000, reports NPR . More specifically, the researchers calculate that Puerto Rico had 4,645 "excess deaths" between Sept. 20, 2017, and... More »

Puerto Rico Is Once Again Entirely Without Power

It's the first island-wide blackout since Hurricane Maria

(Newser) - An island-wide blackout has hit Puerto Rico, which is struggling with an increasingly unstable power grid nearly seven months after Hurricane Maria hit the US territory. Electric Power Authority spokeswoman Yohari Molina tells the AP that crews are investigating the cause. Officials said Wednesday it could take 24 to 36... More »

A New Round of Misery for Puerto Rico

Much of territory's north in darkness after fire, explosion, blackout on an overtaxed power grid

(Newser) - An explosion and fire at an electric substation threw much of northern Puerto Rico into darkness late Sunday in a setback for the US territory's efforts to fully restore power more than five months after Hurricane Maria started the longest blackout in US history. The island's Electric Power... More »

First the Meals Didn't Show. Now Rats Ruin Other Supplies

Infestation in Fla. government office affected boxes of supplies meant for Puerto Rico

(Newser) - Puerto Rico is still in great need of hurricane relief supplies, as San Juan's mayor noted last week , which makes recent news out of Florida frustrating. The Orlando Sentinel reports that boxes of donated supplies meant to be sent to the island after Hurricane Maria remained stuck instead in... More »

One-Person Firm Got $156M FEMA Deal. It Didn't End Well

Contractor was supposed to provide 30M meals to Puerto Rico, managed just 50K

(Newser) - Another government contract to provide relief to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is coming under scrutiny. The reasons, as spelled out in the New York Times , are pretty clear: FEMA awarded a one-woman company out of Atlanta—a firm that had zero experience in large-scale disasters—a $156 million contract... More »

San Juan Mayor on FEMA Cutoff: 'There Is Need Still'

Members of Congress implore agency not to halt aid to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

(Newser) - FEMA's plans to halt hurricane relief supplies to Puerto Rico effective Jan. 31 drew criticism Tuesday from members of Congress and the mayor of the island's largest city. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said many people in the US territory need the water and food they've... More »

We Spent More Money Than Ever on Weather Disasters

Credit 3 hurricanes, wildfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes, and drought in 2017

(Newser) - With three strong hurricanes, wildfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes, and drought, the United States tallied a record high bill last year for weather disasters: $306 billion. The US had 16 disasters last year with damage exceeding a billion dollars, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday. That ties 2011 for... More »

Puerto Rico Just Got Even More Bad News

Officials say the territory won't have power fully restored until May

(Newser) - Three months after Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico, more than a third of the island is still without power. Now officials—citing a "logistical nightmare"—say the territory's electricity won't be fully restored until May, BuzzFeed reports. That's five months after Gov. Ricardo Rosselló original... More »

Maria Hit. Then, a 'Horrible' Fate for Puerto Rico's Pets

Shelters are swamped in wake of Maria with both strays and abandoned pets

(Newser) - They've been tossed over fences, tied to gates, and even left with money under their collars. Abandoned animals are overwhelming Puerto Rico's shelters, which were already struggling to cope with hundreds of thousands of strays that were roaming the island before Hurricane Maria. Hundreds of dogs, cats, and... More »

New Problem in Puerto Rico: Energy Firm Puts Its Foot Down

Whitefish Energy says it won't fulfill remainder of work unless it gets the $83M it's owed

(Newser) - The Montana energy company that set up a controversial, since-canceled contract to help restore Puerto Rico's power after Hurricane Maria had agreed to work through Nov. 30 before heading out. But now it's stopping work altogether, claiming the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority owes it upward of $83... More »

Puerto Rico Hurricane Affecting US Hospitals in a Big Way

Saline solution bags, a basic medical staple, are in short supply because makers on island hit hard

(Newser) - A shortage of saline was already an issue in US hospitals. Now the country is teetering on "the brink of a significant public health crisis," per a letter earlier this month from the American Hospital Association to Congress. It all comes down to a problem with the bags... More »

Report: Energy Company in Puerto Rico Jacking Up the Tab

Contractors for Whitefish Energy making up to $100 an hour, but Whitefish is billing $319

(Newser) - Called an "unusual" arrangement right from the start, a Montana energy company working in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is now raising eyebrows even higher. The New York Times reports Florida linemen hired as contractors by Whitefish Energy are making up to $100 an hour with double time, which,... More »

FEMA Wants to Airlift Displaced Puerto Ricans to NY, Florida

But logistics are still an issue for temporary relocation, and most don't want to leave

(Newser) - Florida and New York could soon see an influx of temporary new residents, reports CNN , as FEMA works with those two states to let Puerto Rican hurricane survivors relocate to the US mainland. At the top of the list would be the 3,000 or so people stuck in shelters... More »

TJ Maxx Wins Praise Over Decision in Puerto Rico

Parent chain TJX is paying workers even though stores are shuttered

(Newser) - Some employees of the chain that owns TJ Maxx in Puerto Rico haven't worked in weeks because of Hurricane Maria, but that doesn't mean they've lost their paychecks. Parent company TJX, which also owns Marshalls and HomeGoods, has continued to pay its employees all the while, reports... More »

Puerto Rico Scraps $300M Contract to Small US Firm

Whitefish Energy only had two employees when Hurricane Maria hit the island

(Newser) - A lucrative but controversial contract awarded to a tiny US company to restore power to Puerto Rico is no more. Puerto Rico pulled the plug on the $300 million deal Sunday, hours after Gov. Ricardo Rossello called for the move, reports the Washington Post . The contract between the Puerto Rico... More »

Firm With 2 Full-Time Workers Lands $300M Puerto Rico Deal

Tiny Whitefish Energy happens to be financed by a big supporter of President Trump

(Newser) - A tiny for-profit company out of Montana has landed a $300 million contract to help get the power back on in Puerto Rico, reports the Spokesman-Review . How tiny? Whitefish Energy had just two full-time employees on the day Hurricane Maria slammed into the island. However, the company suggests that figure... More »

What New York Is Doing for College-Age Maria Victims

Tuition help being offered to displaced students at 64 state universities

(Newser) - Mainland US universities are offering a helping hand to students in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands affected by Hurricane Maria. Some schools are granting students discounted tuition at the rate for in-state residents; others are waiving tuition altogether for a semester, NPR reports. Tuition help is being offered... More »

Experimental Balloons Restore Internet in Puerto Rico

Google parent launches 'Project Loon'

(Newser) - Google's parent Alphabet Inc. says its stratospheric balloons are now delivering the Internet to remote areas of Puerto Rico where cellphone towers were knocked out by Hurricane Maria. Two of the search giant's "Project Loon" balloons are already over the country enabling texts, emails, and basic web... More »

Trump Has Officially Rated His Response to Puerto Rico

'I'd say it was a 10'

(Newser) - On Thursday, President Trump gave himself perfect marks for the federal government's response to the ongoing disaster in Puerto Rico, USA Today reports. "I'd say it was a 10," Trump told reporters during a meeting with Gov. Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico. According to the Washington ... More »

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