Progress and challenges in Puerto Rico 1 year after Hurricane Maria

(WSVN) - One year after Hurricane Maria, it’s still a struggle to survive for countless of people in Puerto Rico. The Nightteam’s Brian Entin is live in San Juan with the latest on the recovery.

Flying into San Juan, you notice all the blue tarps on people’s houses.

And even parts of the airport are still closed.

An hour’s drive outside the capital, in the city of Yabucoa, we find one of the hardest hit areas.

Yabucoa is where Category 4 Hurricane Maria came ashore.

And one year later, some of the houses along the coast still look like this.

Irma Rodriguez, Maria survivor: “I lost everything.”

Irma Rodriguez lives here with her blind husband.

Irma Rodriguez: “To this day, I can’t sleep. I’m scared. I’m a very sick woman.”

Brian Entin: “Irma says during the hurricane, the water rose up and it completely covered her house. You couldn’t see any of this. It went all the way up above the roof. Over the last year, they’ve been able to repair the roof. They’ve finally been able get power back, but they are having to use these extension cords and run them into each bedroom so that the different people who live here can have electricity. And they’re also worried about the structural integrity of the house. You look in this bedroom and you see they’ve actually got a support beam holding up the roof. They’re worried that the roof could still come down.”

Irma says she was given $8,000 by FEMA to repair her home, but she says it’s not enough.

Closer to the center of town, power is fully restored.

But all the traffic lights still don’t work, and city hall is so badly damaged it will be torn down.

Ahmed Sanchez, Yabucoa emergency management: “We still have much work to do, but we fight hard.”

The emergency management director drives us to the top of a nearby mountain to show us the view.

It’s beautiful but blue tarps, again, dot the landscape.

President Donald Trump: “I hate to tell you Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack.”

President Trump’s remarks right after the hurricane upset Puerto Ricans.

And many were offended when he recently questioned the official government death toll of 2,975.

Irma Rodriguez: “He doesn’t believe it. He doesn’t care.”

Politics and the federal response to Maria are still debated one year later.

Brian Entin: “Do you think FEMA is doing a good job?”

Ahmed Sanchez: “Half. Half and half. I feel bad because I’m a citizen. I’m American.”

The governor of Puerto Rico spoke to CNN on the one-year anniversary of Maria, being careful not to directly criticize the president.

He is now pushing for Puerto Rico to officially become a U.S. state, not just a territory.

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló: “Puerto Ricans are treated as second-class citizens. We are a territory of the United States, not a full state, and it is about time we have this discussion. ”

Rosselló will be holding commemoration ceremony Thursday. Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson are expected to be in attendance.

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