ICS Lecture: “Impacts of Hurricane Maria on disadvantaged populations in Puerto Rico”


Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Institute of Caribbean Studies at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras (UPR-RP) invites the academic community and the general public the next Conferencias Caribeñas (CC21) lecture. “Los impactos del Huracán María en las poblaciones más desventajadas y de bajos ingresos en Puerto Rico” [The impacts of Hurricane Maria on disadvantaged and low-income populations in Puerto Rico] will be delivered by Dr. Héctor Cordero-Guzmán (Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College, CUNY). Dr. Iyari Ríos-González (Institute of Labor Relations, UPR-RP) will introduce the lecturer.

The activity will be held on Thursday, January 25, 2018, from 1:00 to 3:00pm at REB 238 (Room 238 of the Ramón Emeterio Betances Building), School of the Social Sciences, UPR-RP. 

Description: This presentation will focus on the conditions in Puerto Rico before Hurricanes Irma and María and the effects of storms on the most vulnerable sectors of the population. Social inequality impacts different social groups differently, and the most marginalized, in concrete ways. Before the storm, people in those sectors already live in more vulnerable homes and structures and have fewer supplies and reserves to protect their lives and property. During the stage for rescue and distribution of aid, these populations have less access to cash, as well as other reserves and resources, they are more isolated from the aid distribution channels, their personal and family networks are in the same disadvantaged conditions, they depend more on charitable help and support from “strangers,” and their lives and properties are more vulnerable. During the reconstruction phase, poor populations are marginalized because their needs and voices are not considered important, they are not incorporated in the planning, they are often seen as a cost and a hindrance, and they have difficulty making their voices, positions and interests heard by the people, organizations, and institutions that craft public policy in Puerto Rico.

Given the conditions of the island after the hurricanes, a number of factors have fostered an accelerated increase in emigration to the United States. The lack of access to basic services, the collapse of the infrastructure, the impact on local labor markets, changes in educational institutions, and the uncertainty caused by the economic and fiscal crises, in combination, exemplify the institutional deterioration in Puerto Rico. In turn, these are some of the causes of the temporary or more permanent exodus of the population to the mainland. The presentation will also discuss the economic, demographic, social and political implications of recent migration from Puerto Rico.

This presentation will be broadcast LIVE online through the UPR-Rio Piedras website at http://uprrp.edu

Comments and suggestions on this presentation will be very welcome at iec.ics@upr.edu

The Institute of Caribbean Studies in FACEBOOK.

[Photo above: People use a rope line to cross Puerto Rico’s San Lorenzo de Morovis river to deliver food and supplies to relatives. Flooding from Hurricane Maria destroyed the bridge. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images. Accessed via https://insideclimatenews.org/news/14102017/puerto-rico-water-food-shortages-hospitals-environmental-justice.]

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