7News visits Puerto Rico 1 year after Hurricane Maria

(WSVN) - One year ago, a monster storm tore through Puerto Rico, leaving behind damage and devastation. 7News is there in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico as survivors continue to struggle with the tough task of recovering and rebuilding.

Life on the island will never be the same. Many residents in Puerto Rico are still having a tough time.

In just a little more than a day, Maria grew from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane. It slammed into Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017.

Maria left behind a 60-mile wide path of devastation.

The entire power grid was destroyed, homes were left in pieces and streets became raging, muddy rivers.

Afterward, stunned survivors lined up for food and water.

Federal aid was slow to arrive, leaving the mayor of San Juan angry and frustrated.

Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz: “I am mad as hell, because my people’s lives are at stake.”

One of the biggest issues was much of Puerto Rico was left with no power after the island’s aging infrastructure failed.

Donald Trump: “I think it is now acknowledged what a great job we’ve done.”

President Trump flew to Puerto Rico, handing out supplies and talking about what a good job the Federal Government did.

He told officials they could be very proud that Hurricane Maria resulted in less deaths than Hurricane Katrina.

Donald Trump: “If you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous and hundreds and hundreds of people who died, and you look at what happened here. It was really a storm that was totally overpowering. Nobody has ever seen anything like this.”

But way more people died than the president first acknowledged.

At first, the government’s death toll was 64.

Then Harvard University did their own study that estimated 4,645 deaths.

And George Washington University estimated 2,975 deaths. It’s a number the Puerto Rican government is now using.

The new numbers incorporate people who died directly because of the hurricane and people who died later because of things related to conditions after Maria.

President Trump later questioned the higher numbers and said Democrats were just trying to make him look bad.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló: “The victims, nor the people of Puerto Rico deserve to have their pain questioned. This has been a long process. As you know, we didn’t have a lot of the resources.”

In Yabucoa, where 7News is reporting from, the government said 271 people died.

Survivors of Hurricane Maria are still living in their homes despite not having roofs or walls.

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