[10/9/18] – Puerto Rico Death Toll

In September of 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria converged to create a catastrophic disaster for the island of Puerto Rico. In the immediate aftermath of these hurricanes reaching landfall, another storm of controversy between the United States government and people living in Puerto Rico began to brew. For the last year, thousands of Puerto Ricans have been without power, food, shelter, and funding to return their life to pre-hurricane status. However, one of the biggest controversies related to these hurricanes is related to the reporting of the death toll. Originally the government reported death tolls in the hundreds, whereas a new report has the toll at more than 4,000.

Instructors, click on the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. In addition to the resources provided below, the deck contains discussion questions, an in-class activity, an online activity, and assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for the Puerto Rico Death Toll

Learning Objective 1: Discuss how social factors such as race and social class may influence response to natural disaster recovery.

Learning Objective 2: Explain how the history and legacy of colonialism is currently impacting recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.



Additional Resources

Ray Sanchez, “How Puerto Rico’s Death Toll Climbed from 64 to 2,975 in Hurricane Maria” (CNN, video/text)

Peter S. Green, “Puerto Rico’s grim prognosis: The island may never recover” (CBS News, video/text)

All Things Considered, “Hurricane Maria’s Devastation of Puerto Rico, 1 Year Later” (NPR, audio/text)

Intercepted, “Hurricane Colonialism: The Economic, Political, and Environmental War on Puerto Rico” (The Intercept, audio/text)

Jon Lee Anderson, “Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico’s Neo-Colonial Legacy” (The New Yorker, text)

Jade Jackman, Rossalyn Warren, Marinés Montero, Antonio Ribeiro, Mark Pickles and Mustafa Khalili, “Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: ‘We’re American, too, why don’t they help?'” (The Guardian, video)

“Chan School study estimates higher death toll in Puerto Rico from hurricane” (The Harvard Gazette, text)

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