Holyoke Public Schools

In the months since Hurricane Maria, 1,400 students from Puerto Rico have registered for school in Massachusetts.

At MedStar Washington Hospital Center, doctors and nurses are moving as many patients as they can from intravenous medications to the same drugs in pill form.

Seven weeks ago, Hurricane Maria roared through the center of Puerto Rico. Winds battered the palm leaves and rain poured over the houses in the town of Barrancas.

The storm brought terror to German Santini, who was inside his home. Santini emerged the next day to see a town that looked like it had been hit by airstrikes.

“You get the urge to cry,” he said. “You don’t feel like doing anything, seeing everything destroyed. Puerto Rico is going to take a long time to recover from this.”

Miguel Zenón was 12 when he first experienced the devastation of a major hurricane in his homeland, Puerto Rico. That was Hugo, which hit as a Category 3 in 1989, and drove nearly 30,000 residents from their homes.

We drove to Caguas, a city south of San Juan, four weeks after Hurricane Maria hit. Our guide was Luis Cotto -- a former Hartford city councilman now living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We traveled to Puerto Rico to tell stories; he traveled to deliver thousands of dollars in inflatable solar lights and water filters to people who need them, including members of his family.

Nelson Robles, 56, is the maintenance man at Primera Iglesia Bautista Emanuel church in downtown Bridgeport. He’s also a percussionist during mass. Every morning, he walks to the corner of his church – just off the altar to the right – and prays. He said that while he’s down on his knees looking for guidance, he feels God.

Blanca Ortiz-Torres was sitting in a Puerto Rican oasis. She was at a working bakery in the tiny mountain town of Maricao that had both a generator and a cistern and, as a result, could serve cold drinks, hot coffee, fresh pastries, and pizza.

It’s been more than a month since Hurricane Maria, but residents of Puerto Rico are still coping with the devastation. Several community groups — many of them nonprofits with missions they have had to suspend in the wake of Maria — are working to provide relief across the island:

Proyecto Enlace

Carmen Osorio stands on the second floor of her two-story home, sun beating down through the rafters where a roof once kept out the elements.

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, and a month later, clean water continues to be hard to come by for some residents -- particularly those in more rural parts of the island.

Wildfires in York County, Maine, October 1947.
Brick Store Museum

For some in New England, the deadly fires in California are a reminder of when fires overtook much of Maine around this time of year, 70 years ago. Wildfires in 1947 simultaneously burned over hundreds of miles for ten days, wiping out towns, and forever changing the landscape.