Nicky Sanchez Quiles, 71, a resident of the San Rafael nursing home and a dialysis patient, is taken to a hospital in Arecibo, Puerto Rico February 14, 2018
Photo by Alvin Baez/Reuters
Over the past three decades, driven in part by outmigration to seek economic opportunity in the continental U.S., Puerto Rico’s population (3.3 million in 2017) has shifted from one that is primarily young and urbanizing to an older demographic. Yet in the wake of the hurricanes, local governments and community members pulled together to sustain one another, showing significant resilience in the face of disaster. Recovery efforts that build on this resilience—across all sectors—aim to make communities and municipalities stronger.
Working with FEMA counterparts and other stakeholders, HSOAC identified recovery actions that aim to strengthen community and municipal capacity to face future disasters. These include improving emergency preparedness, communication, recovery planning, research and training, and engagement with NGOs. Recovery actions also include improving municipal fiscal conditions, implementing regional approaches to service delivery and planning, rebuilding urban centers, increasing municipal transparency, and enhancing municipal capacity.
Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center analysts assessed Hurricanes Irma and Maria's effects on Puerto Rico's municipalities and the municipalities' ability to govern, deliver services, and recover and developed courses of action for recovery.
The authors detail the status of Puerto Rico's communities leading up to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the storms' impact on them, and 15 courses of action to improve their capacity for emergency preparedness, communication, and recovery planning.