Puerto Ricans Who Moved To Harlem After Hurricane Maria Are Living In Uncertainity

Buzzfeed reports that Puerto Ricans who fled the storm-ravaged island for New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria are living in a state of uncertainty.

The are waiting and watching the painstaking process of recovery at home while their lives are in limbo, unsure of whether to stay or go back.”I’m not making any decisions right now. It’s all too much at once,” Evelyn Rosario, 52, said Tuesday at a hurricane service center set up by the city.

The center, located in Harlem, receives around 35 families like Rosario’s per day, who are looking for assistance signing up for benefits like SNAP and Medicaid in New York, and information about other city services, officials said.

The center, located in Harlem, receives around 35 families like Rosario’s per day, who are looking for assistance signing up for benefits like SNAP and Medicaid in New York, and information about other city services, officials said.

In Puerto Rico, the situation is slowly improving, but still unstable: Electricity generation rises and falls on a weekly basis, water still has to be boiled before drinking, and reconstruction efforts are slow and difficult, due in part to mismanaged government contracts and the island’s difficult terrain.

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“There was water but no light, the supermarkets didn’t have much food, in Humacao there wasn’t anything open,” said Rosario, who arrived in New York City a week ago with her two daughters. Humacao, where the family lived, was hit particularly hard by the hurricane, and is located near the site where Maria made landfall, on the island’s east coast.

Rosario said she thinks they’ll have to stay in New York because there is no work for her in Puerto Rico — she used to work remotely as an accountant, but without reliable internet and electricity that is no longer possible. Her younger daughter, who is 13, is already settled into a new school in the city, she said.

“I’ll have to go back in a few months to check if everything’s okay with our house and to decide if I’m going to rent it out or what to do,” she said.

Since September 20, when Hurricane Maria made its Puerto Rican landfall, wreaking widespread destruction across the territory, thousands of people — in particular those with school-age children and elderly family members living without electricity and water — have been anxiously waiting for a chance to leave the island.

In New York, which is already home to more than 1.1 million Puerto Ricans, most of whom live in New York City, many of those displaced by the storm are now staying with families and friends.

There’s no definitive statistic of how many Puerto Ricans have relocated to the mainland US since the hurricane: Florida has received more than 218,000 people since October 3, according to state statistics; New York does not have an official count of how many people have arrived from the island.

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