This weekend Hurricane Fiona made landfall on Puerto Rico – almost exactly five years to the day after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017.
As of Monday millions of people in Puerto Rico are still without power. With winds gusting up to 100mph, The Category 1 storm has incapacitated the country and, once again, laid bare the exceptional vulnerability of the island in the face of decades of neoliberal austerity and disinvestment in infrastructure.
As events continue to unfold on the island, it’s unclear exactly how severe and long-lasting the impacts of Hurricane Fiona will be — but if there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that the island’s residents have an unfortunately deep understanding of the struggles and challenges ahead of them.
What lessons can be learned from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria five years ago? Perhaps revisiting our 30-minute award-winning film exploring how communities responded to that disaster can provide some insight.
“The Response: How Puerto Ricans Are Restoring Power to the People” documents how an impromptu community kitchen meant to help feed survivors in the town of Caguas quickly grew into an island-wide network of mutual aid centers (Centros de Apoyo Mutuo) with the ultimate goal to restore power — both electric and civic — to the people.
Bringing people together for an in-person or online film screening is a great tool for opening a dialogue about the lessons learned in Puerto Rico and how your community can be better prepared to respond to current and future disruptions.
To receive a free toolkit for hosting a screening, please fill out a short registration form here.