A team of Connecticut veterans and volunteers -- self-described as the Puerto Rican "water dogs" -- pumps water from a river in Salinas, Puerto Rico through a mobile filtration and purification system for residents there to drink.
Credit Ryan Caron King / WNPR
It’s been more than six months since Hurricane Maria tore through the island of Puerto Rico — taking out power lines, destroying homes, disrupting industries, raking the island’s forests, and displacing families.
Connecticut Public Radio’s reporters have covered the aftermath of the storm both from the mainland and from the island’s streets and mountains. We’ve told stories about families still trying to provide the basics, college students reimagining their futures, schools adapting to hundreds of new students, and people just hoping to furnish their new, but empty, apartments.
Our reporters and editors decided to cover Hurricane Maria because — with nearly 300,000 state residents who claim island roots — it’s a local story. The island is an ocean away from our newsroom, but it might as well be one town over. Connecticut Public Radio is committed to telling these stories of people touched by the storm.
It’s mid-March and Hartford Public High School teacher Bridget Allison goes over essay-writing tips for her fourth-period class. After a while, she checks in on a group of students who are seated together — a few of the evacuees from Puerto Rico.
Hartford’s hurricane relief center was where evacuees from Puerto Rico could come to get help: help finding housing, jobs, winter clothing -- whatever supplies or services they needed to restart their lives in Connecticut.
That’s the message from Hartford Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The disaster last fall uprooted many Puerto Ricans who fled the island, including children who ended up enrolling in Connecticut schools.
The Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda held a “Rally And Lobby Day for Puerto Rican Families” Wednesday in Hartford. The event was put on at the Capitol to get support for a disaster relief bill proposed in the House of Representatives.
A rally for Puerto Rican families will take place in Hartford on Wednesday. Organizers of the event hope it will lead to the passage of a bill in the Connecticut legislature that will set aside money for hurricane relief.
Brian Rivera was finishing breakfast in the lobby of the Red Room Inn in downtown Hartford. He’s been living there with his wife and two toddlers since December. And he didn’t know yet if he’d have to move out soon.