Religious leaders including San Juan’s Catholic Archbishop Roberto González are appealing for aid as 60,000 homes still have temporary or blue-tarp covered roofs that would not survive a Category 1 hurricane and tens of thousands of people across the island still lack access to housing or reliable electricity, a year after Hurricane Maria pummelled the island, September 20. After the hurricanes more than 130,000 people migrated to the US.
“The hurricane anniversaries urge us to renew our commitment to assist the poorest among our people to rebuild their lives with dignity,” said Archbishop González. “We all belong to one human family and need to care for one another.”
A release from Jubilee USA Network—an alliance of US organisations and faith communities working to build an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable—said that before Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico saw a loss of emergency response and medical personnel due to austerity cuts imposed on the island wrestling with a US$72 billion debt crisis. As hurricane recovery continues, Puerto Rico lumbers through a bankruptcy process designed by Congress.