Amnesty Urges Accountability for Hurricane Maria With Projections Onto Trump Hotel, FEMA


- Puerto Rico's government is suing insurance companies that officials say have not responded quickly enough to claims filed after Hurricane Maria hit almost a year ago.

As Puerto Rico recovers from Hurricane Maria and evacuees from the island settle in Central Florida, the University of Central Florida has created a Puerto Rico Research Hub designed to identify solutions to challenges and issues affecting the community.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite of Hurricane Maria as it reached its most powerful point on September 20, 2017, just as it reached Puerto Rico. Laura speaks to Edgar Gomez, a city official from the town Toa Baja, PR and two education activists from the island, Ana Yris Guzman Toress of Nuestra Escuela Puerto Rico and Nicolle Teresa Ramos, coordinator of Universidad Sin Fronteras.

Last month, the U.S. Commonwealth's government sharply raised the official estimate of Maria's death toll to nearly 3,000 after an independent study.

The storm knocked out power and communications to virtually all of Puerto Rico's 3.2 million residents, while destroying the homes of thousands.

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While the US government has invested billions of dollars to help clean up and fix the USA territory, much work remains.

Engineer Jose Ortiz, the new director of Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority, said on Thursday about 20 percent of the repairs that were made to the power grid needed to be redone because they were rushed and temporary.

He compared the sluggish response a year ago to the quick federal responses in Texas and Florida, states hit weeks earlier by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as the federal response to 2005's Hurricane Katrina in the US Gulf of Mexico.

The lawsuits also seek $2.6 billion in damages for those who have not been compensated since the Category 4 storm hit on Sept 20.

He says rebuilding homes has been the primary focus.

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

Calderon added that the hurricane had raised Puerto Rico's profile on the national stage, only because before the storm, "Senators and congressional members they just have no clue whatsoever ... that Puerto Rico even existed, let alone obviously that these were American citizens".

Cruz-Torres added those in the coastal areas, fishermen in particular, were among the hardest hit because of the gear and boats they lost.

Nivia Rodriguez, a 60-year-old retiree whose uncle died a week after the storm, said she grew upset after watching videos of rescue crews in North Carolina when Hurricane Florence hit.

The White House dispatched administration officials, including Housing Secretary Ben Carson, to the island to meet with Puerto Rico officials to discuss the ongoing recovery efforts.

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