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Hurricane Maria Devastated an Already Poverty-Stricken Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico faces a long road to recovery following Hurricane Maria's devastation three weeks ago. The already-poverty stricken U.S. territory already held over $70 billion in debt prior to the storm.

As Puerto Rico begins to rebuild from Hurricane Maria's September devastation, it is immediately clear that the path to recovery won't be an easy one. Moody's Investor Services estimates that the damages from the storm may amount to between $45 to 95 billion, which represents 130 percent of the U.S. territory's GNP at the higher end. 

Prior to the hurricane, the struggling territory already faced bankruptcy, owing over $70 billion in debt. The 2016 U.S. Census found that 43.5 percent of Puerto Ricans fall below the poverty line with the average median household income hanging at $19.350. As of August 2017, the unemployment rate in Puerto Rico was over 10 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

While much of Puerto Rico remains without power even three weeks after the storm, in a series of tweets, President Donald Trump said that he may pull relief workers from the struggling island. Trump tweeted that Puerto Rico's infrastructure was a disaster prior to the storm making landfall and Congress will have to decide how much money it is willing to designate to aiding the territory's recovery. 

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