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  • After hurricane Maria predisaster conditions, hurricane damage, and recovery needs in Puerto Rico

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After hurricane Maria predisaster conditions, hurricane damage, and recovery needs in Puerto Rico

Source(s):  RAND Corporation (RAND)

To support development of Puerto Rico’s short- and long-term recovery and resilience plan, experts conducted a comprehensive assessment of the commonwealth’s challenges and the damage caused by the 2017 hurricanes. They identified short- and longer-term needs for Puerto Rico to recover and to build resilience to future storms; economic, social, and environmental trends; and ongoing governance challenges. This report summarizes their work.

Key findings

  • Puerto Rico faced extensive and deep-rooted stressors prior to the 2017 hurricane season. 
  • Hurricane Maria caused catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico’s lifeline infrastructure systems and housing. 
  • Prehurricane conditions and damage to lifeline infrastructure affected response and recovery in every sector. 


  • In the short term (within two years of publishing the recovery plan), Puerto Rico needs to address remaining cross-sectoral recovery priorities: Complete damage and needs assessments that remain incomplete, repair critical infrastructure that remains nonfunctioning or in disrepair, promote efforts to improve governance and fiscal accountability, update emergency-preparedness plans, clearly establish responsibility for infrastructure assets and services, and repair homes that remain damaged or destroyed.
  • In the longer term (the next decade or so), Puerto Rico will need to focus on key resilience challenges: Address economic conditions that precipitated population loss, worsened storm damage, and currently inhibit recovery; pursue municipal priorities for economic development and recovery; scale housing, social service, health, education, and infrastructure systems for current and future populations; reduce the vulnerability of infrastructure in Puerto Rico to natural hazards and build it to 21st-century standards; address building-permit and code-enforcement gaps that reduce the effectiveness of Puerto Rico’s utilities and perpetuate activity in the informal sector; and report timely and accurate data on the commonwealth’s economic and fiscal status.

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  • After hurricane Maria predisaster conditions, hurricane damage, and recovery needs in Puerto Rico
  • Publication date 2020
  • Author(s) Fischbach, Jordan R.; Warren May, Linnea ; Whipkey, Katie ; et al.
  • Number of pages 484 p.
  • ISBN/ISSN 9781977403124 (ISBN)

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