Puerto Rican community remembers lives lost in Hurricane Maria one year later

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"The best tribute we can give these people, these brothers that we've lost, is to build a better Puerto Rico for their sons, their grandsons and their families".

One year after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico - and one week after President Donald Trump denied the storm's death toll of almost 3,000 - the Trump administration is sending a delegation of senior administration officials to the island.

After a commissioned study, the government of the US island attributed an estimated 2,975 deaths to the Category 4 storm, which also caused an estimated $100 billion in damage, including destroying 75 percent of the island's transmission lines.

Those at the vigil said they do plan on having more demonstrations until they get a better response from the federal government.

Brock Long, has suggested that Donald Trump could be right in his denial of the figures related to deaths suffered during Hurricane Maria.

The island's government initially put the death toll at 64, but the August study by George Washington University estimated that Maria killed 2,975 people either directly or indirectly from the time it struck in September 2017 to mid-February.

Nivia Rodriguez, a 60-year-old retiree whose uncle died a week after Maria, is among those disgruntled by Trump's comments, as well as by videos of rescue crews responding to Hurricane Florence in North Carolina. Labiosa added Trump's tweets "reflect the lack of acceptance of Puerto Ricans as USA citizens".

"Unfortunately it took hurricane Maria to awaken that attention to this community but at the end of the day I'm a hopeful person, I'm positive so if this was an outcome of that storm, then let it be".

Rivera tells Intersection in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, many Puerto Ricans looked to Central Florida as their safe haven because the community was so receptive.

It's important to note that though Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, Puertoriqueños are American citizens and are completely under the jurisdiction of the FCC. "It's something that affected all of us and keeps affecting us", he said.

Maria had winds of 155 miles per hour when it made landfall. They also said LGBTI Puerto Ricans faced discrimination at emergency shelters across the island.

The storm knocked out power and communications to virtually all of Puerto Rico's 3.2 million residents, while destroying the homes of thousands.

"The point is for people to have a good time", Banuchi said.

There are still some 45,000 homes with so-called "blue roofs", or tarps installed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"Seeing where I grew up not looking the same and thinking if everyone was okay when I couldn't know if they were or they weren't", Hernandez said.

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