This is how much Hurricane Maria has cost Puerto Rico
On Wednesday September 6, Hurricane Irma the strongest atlantic basin hurricane ever recorded, ravaged Puerto Rico with rough winds clocked at 130 mph . On September 20, the island would brace itself again for Hurricane Maria. It goes without saying that the first category four storm to hit the islands directly in 85 years less than a month apart from its predecessor has seriously damaged the islands. Over half of the islands remain without power as the power grid that was damaged by Hurricane Maria is in its infancy of reconstruction.
As of November 17, the official death toll from Maria is 55, although questions were raised about the validity of those numbers considering that the Puerto Rican Health department’s computers were down because of the power outage. CNN conducted a separate investigation finding 499 other storm related deaths in the month after the storm . They cited reports from over 110 Puerto Rican funeral homes almost half of all the funeral homes on the islands. These numbers include deaths associated with malfunctioning electric medical devices and stressed induced heart attacks. As of last week 1520 American citizens still remain displaced after the storm damaged or destroyed most of their homes forced to stay in shelters staying in shelters; most of their homes were destroyed. Hurricane Maria has only further opened wounds the islands have been plagued with for quite sometime. With a massive debt looming overhead and the territory devastated by these storms it will be an arduous uphill battle to a stable and prosperous economy.
Projected in losses
This record breaking hurricane season is going to cost the island billions to repair and no one can deny that as we look into the wake of Hurricane Maria, this may be our nation’s greatest economic hurdle to date. Catastrophe firm AIR Worldwide estimates that Hurricane Maria could result in $72 billion in projected losses for the islands of Puerto Rico. Overall losses could range from $40-85 billion; these figures are higher than the projected cost in damages from Harvey and Irma combined. This will be a tall order to fill considering the 74 billion $ debt the country was in before the storm even hit not including the an additional 50 billion in pension liabilities.
Many of Puerto Rico’s troubles will come from supporting nearly half of the islands’ uninsured homeowners who lacked even the most basic of natural disaster insurance on their homes such as wind. Many portions of the islands were uninsured and simply unable to acquire National flood insurance because the program was not available in many portions of the islands. Because of the nation’s recent economic struggles to many, it comes as no surprise that Puerto Rico would be unable to pay for the municipalities needed to gain insurance or the upkeep needed to meet moderate flood standards. Calculations have yet to be done to include the uninsured so the final figures could easily reach $100 billion.