The Hurricanes of 2017: Pre-María and Immediate Social and Technological Effects
Puerto Rico’s infrastructure collapsed when exposed to the forces of hurricane María. The event also changed the course of rivers, altered the topography of sectors of the island, flooded lowlands and parts of uplands, and the ocean surge changed beach profiles and collapsed structures built close to the ocean. Islanders were left without power, water, and communications, and without access to cash and government services such as health and protection. People resurrected a life style and survival techniques thought to have been left behind in a past already forgotten by many. Complex island topography, high population density and poverty compounded the difficulties faced by those participating in rescue missions. In the confusion, blunders abound, mortality was difficult to estimate, levels of anxiety increased, and the people lost confidence in their government.