SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Clapping and raising their hands to the sky, hundreds of people clad in white gathered at an 18th-century fort in the Puerto Rican capital Thursday to remember the thousands who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria as the U.S. territory struggles to recover one year after the Category 4 storm hit.

Religious leaders and government officials recalled how Puerto Rico was ravaged by the storm that killed an estimated 2,975 people and caused more than $100 billion in damage.

Tens of thousands remain without adequate shelter or reliable electrical power, a fact that Gov. Ricardo Rossello noted Thursday.

“After that catastrophic experience, we acknowledge how complex and difficult it is to prepare for a hurricane of that magnitude and fury,” Rossello said. “The best tribute we can give these people, these brothers that we’ve lost, is to build a better Puerto Rico for their sons, their grandsons and their families.”

While the U.S. government has invested billions of dollars to help clean up and repair the U.S. territory, much work remains. Major power outages are still being reported, tens of thousands of insurance claims are still pending and nearly 60,000 homes still have temporary roofs unable to withstand a Category 1 hurricane.

“I think it’s inexplicable,” Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s secretary general, said during a visit to the island Thursday. “There’s no justifiable reason I can see for this gross level of negligence.”

Across the island, people marked the one-year anniversary with gatherings large and small, solemn and anger-tinged – and at times, even hopeful.

In the coastal fishing and farming village of Yabucoa, the strains of one of Puerto Rico’s most beloved songs filled the air at 6:15 a.m., the exact moment the storm made landfall there one year ago.

Tarps still covered many homes that have yet to be rebuilt in the town of 37,000, even as the nostalgic strains of “Amanecer Borincano” – “Puerto Rican Dawn” – resonated at the spot where Maria first unleashed its fury.

“I am the light of the morning that illuminates new paths,” a choir sang as dozens of local officials and residents gathered there. “I am the son of palm trees, of fields and rivers.”

In San Juan, the crowd of worshippers gathered at the 230-year-old San Cristobal fort sang and prayed along with pastors and musicians on stage, as the sun slowly sank into the sea behind them.

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