Beyond Bandaids? Puerto Rico Still Struggling Nearly 2 Years After Hurricane Maria

When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, conditions were so drastic that some families fled stateside where other forms of support were more prominent.

Among those, Cristina Fuentes left with her husband and three children to Connecticut to start anew, according to a Journal Inquirer article.

“It’s been a nomadic two years, bouncing from a hotel, to a church shelter, and finally to their current East Hartford apartment,” the article says, “but ultimately, (Cristina) Fuentes said moving here was a good decision as her family received aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Salvation Army, and other organizations during the transition.”

Still today, Omar Marrero, the head of recovery in Puerto Rico, said that some 30,000 homes are protected by blue tarps instead of the roofs ripped off during the storm and not yet replaced, according to an article on

This June, Congress passed a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill to help areas hit by disaster, including Puerto Rico. But Marrero told VICE news the $1.5 billion portion that the territory will receive is not going to resolve what’s left of recovery efforts.

“I think that the fact that we are not a state has essentially given the platform for the Administration to give a different and unfair treatment to Puerto Rico,” Omar Marrero, the head of recovery in Puerto Rico, told VICE News. “Without proper funds, Puerto Rico has been slapping bandaids on things, building only temporary infrastructure.”

Much of those who lived in Puerto Rico struggled to afford basic needs before the storm, and Jake’s Diapers continues to work with local residents to supply diapers and other basic hygiene necessities to the populations most in need.

About Our Efforts in Puerto Rico: Jake’s Diapers is on a mission to ensure every person in Puerto Rico who relies on the support of diapers or period products has access to these hygiene essentials. Through a trusted network of local Puerto Rican community based organizations, Jake’s Diapers is solving hygiene needs in culturally appropriate ways with an emphasis on reusable items. We currently have 11 diaper drops in Puerto Rico, and that list is continually growing.