Puerto Rico Still Struggles for Relief Eight Months After Maria

In the eight months since Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a category 4 storm, much of the island and its residents still await aid and relief in wood shacks and temporary roofing made of plastic tarps.

8 photos
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Arden Dragoni holds a printed photo taken on Oct. 5, 2017, that shows him with his wife Sindy, three children and their dog Max, amid the remains of his home that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria, as he stands at the same spot where his home remains in shambles in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, May 28, 2018. The unemployed construction worker and security guard is currently separated from his family while his wife and his children live in a FEMA subsidized apartment and he lives with his father. "The hurricane brought us many calamities but my lesson was to value my family from my heart," Dragoni said.
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Ramon Espinosa/AP
A photo taken on Sept. 29, 2017 showing police lifting the coffin of officer Luis Angel Gonzalez Lorenzo, who was killed during the passage of Hurricane Maria when he tried to cross a river in his car, is shown at the same cemetery in Aguada, Puerto Rico, May 31, 2018. The local police force of Aguadilla and Aguada lacks about a dozen officers since the storm, due to resignations and retirements. The U.S. territory's bankruptcy has frozen promotions, salaries and new hires. Some police academies even closed.
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Luis Cosme poses on the roof of his new home as he holds a printed photo taken on Oct. 1, 2017, showing him on his property destroyed by Hurricane Maria in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Morovis, Puerto Rico, May 26, 2018. Cosme, who is retired from a cleaning company, rebuilt his home with cinderblocks instead of wood.
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Rafael Reyes holds a printed photo of him taken on Oct. 7, 2017, showing him amid the remains of his wooden home after it was destroyed by Hurricane Maria, as he sits at his property in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Morovis, Puerto Rico, May 26, 2018. The 41-year-old father and husband who collects Social Security has been living with his in-laws and says he plans to rebuild with FEMA's $31,000 assistance, but will need another $50,000 to finish it. This time, he says he'll build it in stone, instead of wood.
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Roberto Figueroa Caballero holds a printed photo taken on Oct. 5, 2017, of him amid his seaside home that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria, as he stands on the same property with his pet dog in the La Perla neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 29, 2018. Figueroa, who found a job at a pizzeria, aims to rebuild his home and is appealing FEMA's second rejection of his application. Figueroa's dog was not allowed to go with him to a donated apartment where he lives now, so he visits his property daily to feed and care for him.
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Ramon Espinosa/AP
A printed photo taken on Oct. 17, 2017, showing a U.S. army helicopter transporting material to repair the Maria-damanged Guajataca Dam is shown in front of the same location where repairs continue in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico, May 31, 2018. The 345-yard dam holds back a manmade lake approximately two square miles.
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Blanca Rivera and Eduard Rodriguez pose with a printed photo of the two taken on Sept. 30, 2017, as they slept in their car after their home was destroyed by Hurricane Maria in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Morovis, Puerto Rico, May 26, 2018. The couple says FEMA rejected their request for financial help to rebuild, so they sold their car to build a room next to his mother's house.
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Ramon Espinosa/AP
Juana Sostre Vazquez holds a printed photograph of herself, taken after Hurricane Maria destroyed her home, as she poses with her family inside her new, cinderblock home in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Morovis, Puerto Rico, May 26, 2018. Last year's storm ripped Sostre's wooden home off its foundation in the central mountain highlands. Living on food stamps and Social Security payments, the 69-year-old grandmother rebuilt with the help of her son-in-law and $14,000 in FEMA aid. She said her temporary metal roof is nailed to wooden two-by-fours because she couldn't afford to build a more permanent one. She hopes the next hurricane won't send it flying. "The money didn't let us do the roof," she said. "I'm doing it little by little as I save a couple of dollars." Correction (June 3, 2018, 4:21 p.m. ET): This gallery has been corrected to say that the death toll was found to be higher, not lower, than officials thought.
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