Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico over a year ago, leaving it with a fatality rate of about 3,000 citizens. The island was left with the biggest blackout in U.S. history and did not receive full power until nearly a year later. How exactly is Puerto Rico doing now?


Restoration

1. Tourism

El San Juan Hotel is a luxury property that sits on the beach right outside of San Juan, the island's capital. Hurricane Maria took a toll on the hotel, and although it could have reopened after the storm hit, it was decided that the staff would recondition its "historical features" that make the hotel what it is. "They removed and dried the hand-carved cherry mahogany panels on walls and columns. They repainted the gold ceiling. And they cleaned each of the 7,000 pieces of crystal on the 4,500-pound chandelier that bedazzled the lobby." The hotel reopened December 14, 2018, experiencing a resurgence from the hotel's lack of guests.

2. Personal experience

From more personal experience, my grandparents experienced some of the attack. We did not hear from them when the hurricane hit because of the lack of power and phone service. Once we established a connection, my grandparents flew to my home in Illinois back in November 2017 and stayed with us until early July 2018. My mother went with them to help with the damage.

Once they were back home, there was a lot of work for my grandparents and mother to do. The walls were cracked and dirty, so they had to wash the walls inside and out. All of the dishes were moldy and the clothes grew mildew, so it needed to be washed. The house had storm doors and shutters on the windows for protection, but water still got inside and damaged some wood. The grass outside grew up to three feet high, so they had to use herbicide (a chemical eliminates unwanted plants) to kill off a lot of the grass since it was too hard to cut down. Debris covered the area with dead chickens scattered around.

All of the damage the house took was from the top of a mountain, so they did not experience what many by the shore and in the valleys experienced, but the still took some damage.


Travel

Traveling is expanding for the island, allowing more guests, family, and Puerto Rican citizens to fly in.

1. Flights. Flights have "increased from 20 flights two weeks after the hurricane to 110 to 130 flights on 28 airlines."

2. Cruises. Four extra cruise ships will be using Puerto Rico as "their home port," increasing to about 1.7 million passengers for 2018-19 (whereas 2015-16 was about 1.5 million).

3. Hotels. Room availability will be expanding in 2019 from about 11,000 to 15,000.


Puerto Rico is still recovering from this natural disaster, and although there is not much talk about the island now, citizens continue to restore what they can to make it stronger than before.