NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - One year has passed since Hurricane Maria ripped through the Caribbean, taking its fury out on the island of Puerto Rico.
The powerful storm made landfall on September 20, 2017, causing approximately $90 billion in damage and leading to the deaths of more than 3,000 people in the aftermath.
While at the tail end of recovery, infrastructure remains vulnerable. Approximately 55,000 people are living under blue tarps over their homes. The electric grid is very weak. The rebuilding process is far from over.
"There's still a lot to do. It's been a long recovery process. This was the most devastating storm in the modern history of the United States. " said Gov. Ricardo Rossello during FOX 5 NY morning program, 'Good Day New York.'
Rossello points to the way Puerto Rico has been treated by the federal government post-storm for the slow-moving process.
"There's been a lot of bureaucracy. Puerto Rico, as a territory, it is my view that we are treated as second-class citizens," said Rossello.
The former scientist-turned-politician points to the red tape that other jurisdictions do not have to deal with.
"There were several catastrophes in the United States last year. What we've seen in the process of recovery, that Puerto Rico has had to deal with unseemingly amounts of bureaucracy. That really delays the recovery. The fact is some of the people are not getting the funding. A lot of people have been rejected from that funding. It boils down to the main difference. Puerto Rico is a territory. We do not have voting rights at the federal level. You can see a significant difference in the treatment because of that," said Rossello.
Despite the current hardships, Rossello believes Puerto Rico will make a full recovery and be stronger than before.
"We're confident now with the relationship we have with HUD the funding that will be flowing in in the next coming weeks that we'll be able to impact all those people who do not have roofs. Similarly, the electric grid, it is very weak. We have lifted it up. It is now our commitment to make it into a modern energy grid, one that can be a model in the region," said Rossello.