One Year Lookback on the Puerto Rico Hurricane Recovery Efforts
A year ago, Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and since that time, FEMA, and numerous federal partners and the government of Puerto Rico have undertaken one of the largest post disaster reconstruction and humanitarian efforts in U.S. history. Major portions of the island’s infrastructure are being rebuilt as federal agencies support the government of Puerto Rico's plan to restore the island's lifeline systems, and enable Puerto Rico to withstand the storms to come. Never before has FEMA coordinated federal resources to rebuild an entire Commonwealth with a population of 3.3 million people, 78 municipalities, electrical, water and telecommunication systems, seaports, airports, schools, healthcare systems, roads and bridges. Overall, in 2017, hurricanes, Irma, Maria, and other disasters affected nearly 47 million people throughout the United States. While recovery continues, FEMA and its interagency partners remain focused and dedicated to continued stabilization and resilience of impacted communities. Mike Byrne, one of FEMA’s most qualified federal coordinating officers deployed soon after Maria's landfall in Puerto Rico to help lead the coordination of the federal government support. On this episode we spoke with Mike Byrne about his experience over the last year and how he sees the status of recovery in Puerto Rico one year after Hurricane Maria made landfall.