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The Aftermath of Hurricane Maria Continues to Create Hardships for Victims and Survivors

Thursday, June 7th, 2018
Elisa Berrios and Amarilis Pagan of Proyecto Matria in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Photo by Claire Tighe

Elisa Berrios and Amarilis Pagan of Proyecto Matria in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Photo by Claire Tighe, Center for Investigative Journalism

Written by: María Cristina Pacheco Alcalá, Project Manager, Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network

In September 2017, Puerto Rico was impacted by hurricanes Irma and Maria. More than eight months later, efforts continue to restore electricity, repair homes, and restore public transportation and walk ways, among other things. Within this context, it is important to remember that 52%1 of Puerto Rico’s population is comprised of women, with 176,864 women-led homes, of which 60.7% live below poverty levels2.  Women and their families constitute the sector of population that’s more vulnerable to damages caused by natural disasters and the challenges that arise because of the aftermath. In Puerto Rico’s case, according to ‘Seguimiento de Casos’ (Cases Follow-up) — a Facebook page that keeps track of violence cases in the country and informs the public about them — after Hurricane Maria, 37 women went missing, 33 women were murdered, 9 domestic violence cases were reported, and 1,747 domestic violence-related calls were made to the 9-1-1 emergency system during September. The island is facing a problem of historic magnitude regarding the provision and coordination of service providers for women survivors of gender-based violence, including problems with accessing legal and medical services, shelter, mental health services, and basic services needed to satisfy every day survival needs.

The following article was published by the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (Center on Investigative Journalism) which provides further information about the challenges women in Puerto Rico face and how service providers are doing the best they can within the current circumstances.

Click here to read the article published by the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (Center on Investigative Journalism).

Coordinadora Paz para la Mujer (Peace Coordinator for Women) is one of the nonprofit organizations in Puerto Rico working toward ending gender-based violence and uplifting human rights. To learn more about their efforts to provide services to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, click here.

1 https://censo.estadisticas.pr/EstimadosPoblacionales

2 Informe de transición presentado en vista pública en el 2014 por personal de la Oficina de la Procuradora de las Mujeres.

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