Puerto Rico: America's Forgotten Territory - a year after Hurricane Maria

US President Donald Trump has tweeted extensively about Florence and the Federal Government's preparedness this week

SUSAN WALSH AP US President Donald Trump has tweeted extensively about Florence and the Federal Government's preparedness this week

On Thursday, the one-year anniversary of last year's devastating storm, news media from across the globe reported stories and images of an island still deep in the throes of disaster relief.

Maria devastated the USA commonwealth, and Rossello has said the island's government initially underestimated the death toll, putting it at 64.

During the ceremony with Carson in San Juan, Rossello said the USA island was still recovering from hurricanes Irma and Maria and added that Puerto Ricans were grateful for the Trump's administration "committed attention to the recovery of the island".

Now, the White House said, power and water systems have been restored for almost all of the island's 3.3 million residents, and all but 640 of Puerto Rico's 27,000 kilometers of roadways have been repaired.

Back in Washington, Trump has continued to claim that his administration's response to Maria was both well executed, and underappreciated, despite independent analyses painting a more dastardly picture. Shuttered businesses, blue tarp roofs and extensively damaged homes can still be seen throughout Puerto Rico and access to electricity and fresh water remain spotty. It's just one of many resources around the state that have helped about 8,000 people who left Puerto Rico find a job. The ocean is so close", Velazquez said in Spanish during an interview with The Miami Herald for the "Puerto Rico: "The Forgotten Island" documentary.

Trump has said "3000 people did not die" following Hurricane Maria, disputing the George Washington study estimating the storm killed 2,975 people directly or indirectly from September 2017 through mid-February.

While the US government has invested billions of dollars to help clean up and fix the USA territory, much work remains. "And, that was not easy", she said.

"FEMA leadership acknowledged that the agency could have better anticipated that the severity of hurricanes Irma and Maria would cause long-term, significant damage to the territories' infrastructure", the report said.

Nivia Rodriguez, a 60-year-old retiree whose uncle died a week after the storm, said she grew upset after watching videos of rescue crews in North Carolina when Hurricane Florence hit.

Cuomo also says a memorial to the victims of Hurricane Maria is being planned.

"To see the island of enchantment was a deep and painful experience", he said.

Even before the Category-4 storm hit, Puerto Rico was financially bankrupt with $120 billion in debt and pension liabilities it can not pay.

"For a year he has tried to spin it", she added.

"People need direct help here through local communities rather than through the government because we don't know what happens to the money once the government gets it", Rodriguez told Bloomberg News.

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