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On August 28th, 2018, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, devastating the island’s already fragile infrastructure, and disproportionately affecting those least equipped to cope with disaster, including the poor, the elderly, and ethnic and racial minorities. After their immediate needs of food, water, and shelter were met, residents confronted new challenges: cuts to public services, closures of nearly 300 schools, and major fiscal crises.
A series of earthquakes in January 2020 left nearly one million residents without power and water. Then, Covid-19 forced nearly 300,000 students on the island to begin the year remotely— even though many of these children lack access to the necessary electricity, computers, and internet connection.
Since 2018, LWB US has worked in the city of Loiza, a major center of Afro-Puerto Rican culture on the island. But the municipality faces many challenges, with a median household income of $17,000 annually and one of the highest violent crime rates on the island. It is geographically isolated, accessible only by low-lying bridges that easily flood. Loiza was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2018 and many public services damaged by the storm have not reopened. Further, nearly 30% of residents don’t have any type of home internet connection.
Link Puerto Rico (LinkPR)
Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC)
National Science Foundation (NSF)
For questions and more information, please contact Alex Aldarondo at firstname.lastname@example.org