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Analysis of pre- and post-disaster management and recovery in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria

Fernando I. Rivera, PhD

Abstract


Hurricane Maria, similar to other recent emergency events, continues to remind emergency management of the continuous threats communities encounter. Years prior to Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico was experiencing dire economic conditions which accelerated when the government declared bankruptcy in 2014. Austerity measures were put in place to confront the growing public debt resulting in higher taxes, a crumbling infrastructure, and economic restrictions impacting pensions and other social services. On top of these economic struggles, Puerto Rico experienced catastrophic damages from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The aftermath of these storms and the subsequent experiences with seismic events and the COVID-19 pandemic are reminders of the complexities emergency management is currently facing. As the frequency and intensity of major weather events continues to rise there is a need for a holistic understanding for emergency managers to better mitigate, prepare, response, and recover to disasters and emergency situations.

This special issue provides such understanding. Grounded on the nexus between energy, water, and food, this collection of manuscripts explores the emergency management challenges faced in Puerto Rico in relation to several areas of inquiry, including housing, agriculture, the hospitality industry, communication, health and mental health, public health, and access to healthcare services. These studies not only identify some of the challenges faced in these contexts but provide recommendations and tools to use in future emergencies.


Keywords


Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria, hurricanes, recovery

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