Puerto Rico

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Scientist: Decline in Forest Insects Is 'Hyperalarming'

Numbers are down 60-fold in parts of Puerto Rico rainforest

(Newser) - The insects are disappearing from an American rainforest—and scientists say the implications are frightening. A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that there has been a staggering decline of biomass in Puerto Rico's El Yunque rainforest over the last 35... More »

Maria Protesters Mark Anniversary With Message for Trump

Hundreds of Puerto Ricans give nod to hurricane's 1-year mark by stopping by Mar-a-Lago

(Newser) - Dozens of vehicles slowly approached President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Saturday afternoon, blasting reggaeton and salsa as they drove by. They honked their horns and waved Puerto Rican flags draped from their cars on their way to a rally a few miles away to mark the one-year... More »

Trump Won't Back Down From Denial of Hurricane Death Toll

President's Friday tweetstorm praised FEMA, railed against Puerto Rico death toll from Hurricane Maria

(Newser) - President Trump spent much of Friday evening digging into a claim he'd made the previous day that spurred instant backlash. On Thursday, Trump accused Democrats of inflating the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria, which a recent George Washington University report updated from 64 to 2,975.... More »

Fellow Republicans Disagree With Trump on Puerto Rico

Paul Ryan, Rick Scott among those backing up the death toll of 3,000

(Newser) - President Trump thinks the latest estimate of about 3,000 dead from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico is a lie made up by his political opponents . But even some Republicans—especially those in Florida—are among those disagreeing with the president's assertion about the estimate from researchers at George... More »

Trump: Democrats Made Up Death Toll in Puerto Rico

'3000 did not die,' he writes

(Newser) - President Trump isn't just disputing the hurricane death toll in Puerto Rico, he's accusing his political enemies of making up a higher number. "3000 people did not die," Trump tweeted Thursday. The reference is to the latest estimate, commissioned by the territory's government, that 2,... More »

Trump Goes All In on Puerto Rico Hurricane Fight

Calls response an 'unappreciated great job'

(Newser) - President Trump's Tuesday declaration that the federal government's response to Hurricane Maria was "incredibly successful" drew complaints, especially in light of a recent federal report that found nearly 3,000 people died as a result of the 2017 storm. The criticism didn't deter him from doubling... More »

Study Raises Death Toll in Puerto Rico Yet Again

Estimate commissioned by government links nearly 3K deaths to Hurricane Maria

(Newser) - An estimated 2,975 people died in the six months after Hurricane Maria as a result of the storm, with the elderly and impoverished most affected, according to a long-awaited independent study ordered by the US territory's government that was released Tuesday. The findings contrast sharply with the official... More »

11 Months After Maria, Power Restored in Puerto Rico

But outages are still frequent

(Newser) - Power has been restored to all of Puerto Rico for the first time since Hurricane Maria struck nearly 11 months ago, the AP reports. The island's electric utility announced that crews working in the southern city of Ponce reconnected the last neighborhood that had been offline since the Sept.... More »

Puerto Rico Donations Found Rotting in Trailers

National Guard, elections office swap quotes in the media

(Newser) - Several trailers' worth of donated water, food, and other supplies designated for victims of Hurricane Maria have been found rotting in a Puerto Rico parking lot, the New York Times reports. A local radio station posted a video of at least 10 rat-infested trailers outside a state elections office Friday... More »

Puerto Rico Has Big New Estimate of Maria's Death Toll

Government now says 1,427, up from 64

(Newser) - Puerto Rico's official death toll from Hurricane Maria has long stood at 64, despite independent assessments that the figure is much too low. The government now agrees, in a big way. In a report to be made public Thursday, Puerto Rico raises the total by a factor of more... More »

Man in Puerto Rico Shirt Video Charged With Hate Crimes

Timothy Trybus hit with felony charges

(Newser) - A hostile and apparently ill-informed Chicago man who ranted at a woman for wearing a Puerto Rico shirt in the US is now facing felony hate crime charges. Robert Foley, spokesman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, says the office approved the charges, which were enhancements of... More »

Cop in Puerto Rico Shirt Video Resigns

He was shown in video appearing not to respond to pleas for help

(Newser) - The police officer who appeared to not respond to a woman asking for help at a Chicago park resigned Wednesday. Patrick Connor, an officer with the Cook County Forest Preserve District, was on duty at Caldwell Woods park last month when a woman wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican... More »

Cop Removed From Beat After Puerto Rico Shirt Incident

In video, he appears not to respond to woman asking for his help

(Newser) - A park police officer in Chicago has been assigned to desk duty while officials investigate his response to a woman who said she was being harassed for wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican flag, the AP reports. Mia Irizarry complained that a man at Caldwell Woods, where she was... More »

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 »

They're FEMA's Elite Rescuers, Yet Some Do Little Rescuing

Bureaucracy, too much gear, and other inefficiencies are marring response efforts

(Newser) - They're called the "national Swiss Army knife of emergency response," teams of highly trained first responders sent by FEMA across the US when disaster strikes. But when hurricanes pummeled Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico last summer, many of the thousands deployed via the agency's National Urban... 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 »

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