The hurricane season in 2017 brought three devastating storms one after another. First Harvey in Texas, then Irma in Florida, and finally Hurricane Maria which ravaged the US Caribbean and territories Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. I'm Reuters reporter Robin Respaut. Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico is such a difficult storm to report on.
Because, overnight, not only did the electrical grid collapse, but all the communications networks on the island were either down or severely hampered. One of the fascinating elements about Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico is that, within days, the five pillars that make up a society, being food, water, fuel, communications networks and currency, started to erode.
Within a few days, it was hard for people to get cash, because ATMs were not working. The week before Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, I was Florida covering Hurricane Irma. With Irma, within hours there were hundreds it seemed like utility and electric vehicles that had driven in from out of state and were ready to start preparing broken power lines and snapped utility poles.
In Puerto Rico, it's a very different story. It was very difficult geographically to get to the island. There was very few communications in the days after the storm to even let people know the extent of the damage. And the pace of recovery was so much slower as a result.
The government is still trying to decide how much money it wants to devote to rebuilding, especially in the US territories. And that is something that will be playing out in the weeks and months to come.