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The Island Next Door

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

As Puerto Rico recovers from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, WNPR is committed to telling the stories of residents with ties to Connecticut. We've sent a reporting team - news director Jeff Cohen, and digital reporter Ryan Caron King - to the island to meet people who are delivering aid and reconnecting with loved ones.  Listen for reports on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Where We Live and NEXT.

If you have loved ones in Puerto Rico and want to share your story, please email us at news@wnpr.org. You can also join a Facebook group WNPR in Puerto Rico After Maria. 

Coverage of Hurricane Maria from WNPR, the New England News Collaborative, and NPR:

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Some state universities and community colleges could soon welcome students displaced by Hurricane Maria. Now the system’s president has proposed offering  those students in-state tuition rates.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Residents gathered at a rally in downtown Hartford Wednesday to call attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. 

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

The leveling of Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria is personal to the employees of Durham School Services. More than half of them are Puerto Rican. The normal driving schedule at the school bus company in Waterbury is 6:00 am to 9:00 am and then again from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. But it’s what they do in-between and after work that is less about the routine and more about helping out back at home.

Lori Mack/WNPR

Many Puerto Ricans in Connecticut have been collecting supplies for the island in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. But getting those supplies to where they’re needed remains very difficult.

Updated 1 p.m. ET Saturday

President Trump heads to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico on Tuesday and, in a series of tweets early Saturday morning, defended his administration's handling of the recovery effort while hitting back at Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan.

"The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump," he wrote.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

Connecticut is preparing for an influx of refugees, as residents of devastated Puerto Rico begin to leave the island after Hurricane Maria.

Ken Cedeno / International Medical Corps

A little more than a week after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the island has struggled to get the power back on, food and water distributed, and communication outside the capital of San Juan.

Communication is one of the most urgent needs in Puerto Rico. Government officials must connect with each other to coordinate recovery efforts, and residents want to reach out to loved ones. Three-quarters of the island has no cell phone signal. Maria's fearsome winds knocked out all but about 100 of the island's 1,600 cell towers.

But the town of Guayama found a way to stay in touch.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

With water and food a concern in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, some Connecticut residents are looking to help. Gathering supplies is one thing; getting them to the island is another.

Updated at 10:10 p.m. ET

Millions of people in Puerto Rico need fuel, water, food and medicine. More than a week after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, major infrastructure is still down. Stores have trouble filling their shelves. Families are running low on the supplies they stockpiled before the storm, and across the island, many residents say they haven't seen any aid deliveries.

Meanwhile, at the port in San Juan, row after row of refrigerated shipping containers sit humming. They've been there for days, goods locked away inside.

Ken Cedeno / International Medical Corps

Dr. Robert Fuller visited five primary clinics in Puerto Rico Wednesday -- gong clockwise around the island from San Juan to Arroyo and then north to Caguas.  

Diane Orson / WNPR

One week after Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico, the U.S. Defense Department said 80 percent of the island’s electricity lines are damaged and nearly half its residents are without drinking water.

Ken Cedeno / International Medical Corps

Most of Puerto Rico still has no power or running water one week after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

As Puerto Rico begins a slow recovery from Hurricane Maria's destruction, many Puerto Ricans in Connecticut are struggling to find ways to help  family members in need of food and water.

The Department of Homeland Security is considering a request by members of Congress to waive shipping restrictions to Puerto Rico, senior DHS officials said Wednesday.

The request is to waive restrictions under the Jones Act, which restricts shipping of goods between U.S. coasts to U.S.-flagged vessels (as opposed to foreign-flagged vessels).

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