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Project December 7, 2018

Hurricane Maria: Recovery Within the Puerto Rican Disabled Community

Author:
After Hurricane Maria, the Movement for the Reach of Independent Living program (MAVI), a well-known organization in Puerto Rico, provided the disabled community with donated necessities. Image by Alexis Smith. United States, 2018.
After Hurricane Maria, the Movement for the Reach of Independent Living program (MAVI), a well-known organization in Puerto Rico, provided the disabled community with donated necessities. Image by Alexis Smith. United States, 2018.

On September 20, 2017, Puerto Rico was tragically hit by Hurricane Maria with 150 mile per hour winds. Many people did not survive the natural disaster, and those who did continue to struggle today. As a result of Hurricane Maria, some survivors lost their homes and personal belongings. The lack of electricity and damaged roads made it difficult to obtain food. Everyone on the island was deeply affected by Hurricane Maria, but the disabled community was impacted more than others because they could not utilize their mobility aids or get access to medical supplies.

This project explores accessibility on the island and shows how the experiences of the disabled community before and after the storm completely changed. What, if anything, did the U.S. government do to care for them? Why did the Federal Emergency management Agency (FEMA) not come to assist them as fast as they did in other cases within the United States?

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