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Startling Photos Taken By First Responders To The Puerto Rico Hurricane

About 60% of the island is still without power.

On Sept. 20, Category 4 Hurricane Maria hit the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. At landfall, the winds were up to 155 mph and immediately wiped out the island’s phone towers and power grids. The island would go on to experience record flooding, and two months later, around 60% of its residents were still without power. Recent reports show the death toll could exceed 1,000 people.

Although it’s hard to calculate the cost of such a disaster, Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rossello, asked the United States for $91 billion in relief. The Trump administration has only requested $29 billion to cover hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas combined. Sen. Bernie Sanders announced a $146 billion plan to rebuild or upgrade Puerto Rico’s critical infrastructure while eliminating the country’s $70 billion debt.


Right after the hurricane touched the ground, the Real Medicine Foundation sent a team to the island to assess its immediate needs while providing access to health coverage in isolated communities. The team traveled from the capital city of San Juan to the towns of Dorado, Vega Alta, Vega Baja, Morovis, and Ciales. This is what they saw:

There are no working traffic signals in any part of the island.

Photography by Antonio Cicarelli/RMF for Real Medicine Foundation

Roofs were ripped right off of homes.

Photography by Antonio Cicarelli/RMF for Real Medicine Foundation

Photography by Antonio Cicarelli/RMF for Real Medicine Foundation

People did whatever they could to get by.

Photography by Antonio Cicarelli/RMF for Real Medicine Foundation

Most of the island was without power.

Photography by Antonio Cicarelli/RMF for Real Medicine Foundation

Photography by Antonio Cicarelli/RMF for Real Medicine Foundation

Photography by Antonio Cicarelli/RMF for Real Medicine Foundation

This was one of the few hotels in San Juan with power after Maria touched down.

Photography by Antonio Cicarelli/RMF for Real Medicine Foundation

A woman explains to relief workers how she carried her daughter to safety in a duffel bag through chest-high water.

Photography by Antonio Cicarelli/RMF for Real Medicine Foundation

Doctors from Real Medicine Foundation administering aid to those in isolated communities.

Photography by Antonio Cicarelli/RMF for Real Medicine Foundation

Photography by Antonio Cicarelli/RMF for Real Medicine Foundation

Photography by Antonio Cicarelli/RMF for Real Medicine Foundation

Click here to learn more about Real Medicine Foundation’s global relief efforts.

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