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Today marks six months since Hurricane Maria made landfall and ripped through Puerto Rico, lashing the island with winds well above 155 miles per hour and devastating the homes and communities of many of its 3.4 million residents. Many people forget that three weeks before Maria, Hurricane Irma passed just north, causing $1 billion in damages, killing several, and knocking power out to nearly half of the island. Maria’s follow-up hit on the island was even more brutal: direct, passing in a diagonal line from the southeast to the northwest, sparing nothing.
Eduardo Meléndez, a Puerto Rican photojournalist, has spent the last six months documenting life on the island. From the weeks-long cleanup to lines for gas and ice to protests to lack of electricity to this day, he’s tried to capture what he sees. I asked him what it’s been like to watch and to live through:
“Draining. Hopeless. You have a government who instead of helping the country is helping itself to whatever is left. We have seen thousands of people in dire need of help and resources while the government is spending thousands upon thousands on contracts for their friends.”
Here’s a selection of Meléndez’s work from the last six months.