One Year Out From Hurricane Maria, Full Recovery Still Elusive

US President Donald Trump has tweeted extensively about Florence and the Federal Government's preparedness this week

SUSAN WALSH AP US President Donald Trump has tweeted extensively about Florence and the Federal Government's preparedness this week

WASHINGTON - One year after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, Arizona State University Professor Maria Cruz-Torres said her parents on the island are still struggling to complete repairs to their house after getting "no help from FEMA at all". Rosario, who is incapacitated by diabetes and a blood disease, took a loan to upgrade her home before the storm hit, and lost everything.

"I thought I was going to die, I was going to die with my family", Morales said.

According to the Puerto Rican government, the updated death toll is just shy of 3,000, making it one of the deadliest storms in US history. The hit happened amid a deep recession.

The recovery process has also seen hundreds of community-driven efforts. Like thousands of other Puerto Ricans, Molina's wife and son moved to South Florida's city of Homestead.

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. The aid was part of the $20 billion disaster recovery grant agreement, the largest pledge in the agency's history.

"The path forward is challenging and will be measured not in months, but really in years", Carson said.

"When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths".

Amid midterm elections in Florida, Sen.

Carson, asked about the federal response to Maria, told Reuters the government "responded quickly", yet conceded "there were things that could have been better".

Bitter debates still rage over the failings of the USA government's response to the Category 4 storm in Puerto Rico and the awful human toll it took.

"This should not happen in America to our fellow US citizens", Nelson said during a news conference. "Before, during, and after the two massive hurricanes, the President directed the entire Administration to provide unprecedented support to Puerto Rico". Instead, the Commission released a report that bundled all 2017 Atlantic hurricanes (despite the fact that Hurricane Maria caused significantly more damage than the others) almost an entire year later.

The island only recently achieved 100-percent restoration of power after many residents went nearly a year without.

There are still some 45,000 homes with so-called "blue roofs", or tarps installed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Tens of thousands remain without adequate shelter and reliable access to electrical power a year after the hurricane, which caused an estimated $100 billion in damage.

"Sometimes when I'm passing by and I look at the ocean, I panic".

"I think it's inexplicable", Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International's secretary general, told The Associated Press during a visit to the island Thursday.

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