University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras suffers major damage

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We still have not heard much from the western part of Puerto Rico—so, no news on my alma mater, the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez—but this article from September 20, with an array of photos of the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, is just heart-rending. The university has only been able to hold classes this semester for about a week, first, due to Hurricane Irma, and now, Hurricane Maria. [The photo above shows the once imposing entrance to the UPR, with its majestic palm trees and other vegetation destroyed.] Primera Hora reports:

Destroyed. This how we see the University of Puerto Rico’s Río Piedras campus after the passage of Hurricane Maria, which hit the country with winds of over 150 miles per hour.

The disaster on campus can be seen in several videos and photos that have circulated in social networks this afternoon. In a video by the journalist of Radio Universidad, Roberto Morales Cabán, he documents one of the most impacted buildings, the Facundo Bueso Annex, dedicated to courses and research in the Sciences. You can see part of the collapsed infrastructure in the photo. Some of the outer walls collapsed, leaving classrooms out in the open.

You can also see a great number of trees that prevent access to different areas of the University. Some trees broke gates and walls as they fell; others were uprooted.

Unlike the passage of Hurricane Georges in 1998, the building of the School of Communication withstood the wind. However, damages can be observed in the ceiling.

Recently, the Campus was evaluated by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to remove the probation status imposed during the hardship process to address governmental and financial instability as well as the disruption of education.

Acting UPR President Darrel Hillman Barrera had reported that one of the major concerns of the evaluation committee was the budget cut of over $160 million that the country’s first educational center suffered for this academic year, as well as possible future shrinkage.

For full article (in Spanish), see http://www.primerahora.com/noticias/puerto-rico/nota/destrozadalauniversidaddepuertoricoenriopiedras-1246623/

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