UPDATED 8:10 AM PT — Fri. Sept. 21, 2018
Ceremonies are being held in Puerto Rico to honor the thousands of lives lost during Hurricane Maria exactly one-year ago.
Top government officials gathered with residents of San Juan Thursday, where Governor Ricardo Rossello declared a day of mourning.
Florida Governor Rick Scott and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson were also present for the event, where they paid respect to the reported 3,000 lives lost from the storm.
Governor Rossello ordered flags be lowered to half-staff across the territory and spoke about the resilience of Puerto Ricans as they push-on and rebuild.
“We are joined in order to unite in thoughts and prayers for a noble people, who have suffered a strong blow that will affect us forever,” stated Rossello. “Today we are joined to raise a prayer for all the Puerto Rican sisters and brothers who died as a result of Hurricane Maria.”
The Category 1 hurricane struck the island on September 20, 2017 with a force strong enough to wipe out its electrical power grid for months.
The massive flooding not only shutdown major roadways, but also cut-off access to healthcare services.
This was detrimental for individuals dependent on oxygen tanks, dialysis treatment, home health aides and other daily medical necessities.
The governor said it was his constituents’ obligation to honor the families and friends who lost their lives during and in the wake of Maria.
“To the families of each and everyone one of them, I express solidarity from all of Puerto Rico,” he said. “As a people, we have the right as well as the obligation to respect that space to bid farewell to all those who lost their lives with the dignity and respect that this tragedy represents.”
The island only recently achieved 100-percent restoration of power after many residents went almost a year without.
While 60,000 homes remain protected only by temporary roofing, many people say they are still waiting for the approval of insurance claims.
Secretary Carson said his agency plans to set aside $1.5 billion as relief efforts continue in Puerto Rico.
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