White House: 'Significant Progress' on Puerto Rico Year After Hurricane

Danielle McLaughlin While literal storm clouds have blanketed the Carolinas this week the White House has also been

According to the Puerto Rican government, the updated death toll is just shy of 3,000, making it one of the deadliest storms in US history.

Led by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, a cadre of 20 administration officials are meeting with Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and other local officials "to discuss ongoing recovery efforts as we continue building a stronger, more resilient Puerto Rico", deputy White House press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement.

The island's economy is far from stable as Hurricane Maria has further exacerbated Puerto Rico's precarious financial debt of almost 74 billion dollars.

Maria Torres, husband Jose Cruz and daughter, Gladys Cruz-Torres, from left, sit in another daughter's home last fall after their home in Puerto Rico was damaged by Hurricane Maria.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite of Hurricane Maria as it reached its most powerful point on September 20, 2017, just as it reached Puerto Rico.

In recent weeks, Puerto Ricans have become increasingly angry and frustrated as President Donald Trump touted what he said was a "fantastic" response to Hurricane Maria, calling it an "unsung success" as he denied the official death toll without presenting any evidence.

It's been one year since one of the strongest hurricanes made landfall on a USA territory.

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"We're installing permanent roofs on over 400 homes here on the island".

Nivia Rodriguez, a 60-year-old retiree whose uncle died a week after the storm, said she grew upset after watching videos of rescue crews in North Carolina when Hurricane Florence hit.

"It's too much", she said.

Cuomo also says a memorial to the victims of Hurricane Maria is being planned.

Calderon said Thursday that the current problems on the island are largely a "man-made crisis thanks to what's happened here in Washington, D.C." and the government's response. A year after Maria, the island is far from prepared for the next big storm, with an ever-fragile power grid, damaged infrastructure and the same crippling debt.

Calderon added that the hurricane had raised Puerto Rico's profile on the national stage, only because before the storm, "Senators and congressional members they just have no clue whatsoever ... that Puerto Rico even existed, let alone obviously that these were American citizens".

Governor Rossello ordered flags be lowered to half-staff across the territory and spoke about the resilience of Puerto Ricans as they push-on and rebuild. The initial toll was listed as 64 deaths, but several studies since then have pegged the number as much higher, partly because in the storm's aftermath, ailing island residents were unable to get the medical treatment they needed because of blocked roads or lack of electrical power they needed for surgeries and medical care.

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