Then and now: Puerto Ricans struggle to recover as new hurricane season begins - in pictures
Revisiting the people who were devastated by Maria ahead of the new hurricane season
Rafael Reyes holds a printed photo of him taken on October 7, 2017. The 41-year-old father and husband has been living with his in-laws and says he plans to rebuild his home with US federal assistance. All photos by Ramon Espinosa / AP Photo
Roberto Figueroa Caballero holds a printed photo taken on October 5, 2017. Figueroa, who found a job at a pizzeria, aims to rebuild his home. Figueroa's dog was not allowed to go with him to a donated apartment where he lives now, so he visits his property daily to feed and care for him.
William Fontan Quintero and his wife Yadira Sostre pose with a printed photo of them taken on September 30, 2017, when they sat amid the rubble of their home destroyed by Hurricane Maria. "We don't have time to build anything safe without help," said Quintero.
Arden Dragoni holds a printed photo taken on October 5, 2017. The unemployed construction worker and security guard is currently separated from his family while his wife and his children live in a subsidised apartment, and he lives with his father. "The hurricane brought us many calamities but my lesson was to value my family from my heart," said Dragoni.
Blanca Rivera and Eduard Rodriguez pose with a printed photo of them that was taken on September 30, 2017 of them sleeping in their car. The couple said authorities rejected their request for financial help to rebuild, so they sold their car to build a room next to his mother's house.
A printed photograph taken on October 7, 2017 sits at the same spot where Puerto Rican National Guards delivered food and water to desperate residents. For two months, stranded residents came to this spot for supplies.
A printed photograph taken on September 28, 2017 shows people bathing on the highway after Hurricane Maria destroyed people's homes. Today motorcyclists ride by in Naranjito, Puerto Rico.
A printed photograph of a jeep crossing a river on October 7, 2017 sits placed on a new bridge that stands above the spot where the print was taken.
Luis Cosme poses on the roof of his new home as he holds a printed photo taken on October 1, 2017 showing him on his property destroyed by Hurricane Maria.
A printed photo taken on September 29, 2017 showing police lifting the coffin of officer Luis Angel Gonzalez Lorenzo, who was killed in the hurricane. The local police force of Aguadilla and Aguada is down by about a dozen officers since the storm, due to resignations and retirements.
Juana Sostre Vazquez holds a printed photograph of her taken after Hurricane Maria destroyed her home. Last year's storm ripped Sostre's wooden home off its foundation in the central mountain highlands.
A printed photo taken on October 17, 2017 showing a US army helicopter transporting material to repair the Guajataca Dam. Repairs continue today.
Associated Press photographer Ramon Espinosa spent weeks roaming Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island last September.
He documented the lives of Puerto Ricans who lost roofs and possessions in the storm. Others saw their houses torn completely from their foundations, leaving only concrete bases.
Espinosa revisited the subjects of his pictures ahead of the official start of the 2018 hurricane season to see how they were living eight months after the disaster.
He found some well along the path to recovery — building concrete homes after wood houses were swept off by Maria's winds.
Some are still struggling. A 69-year-old woman living on federal assistance has new walls but a fragile metal roof that is screwed on to wood planks and certain to fly away in the next major storm.
Others lost everything and have no recovery in sight, including a couple who sold the car where they were sleeping after the storm so they could outfit a narrow sleeping space behind a parent's damaged home in Puerto Rico's central mountains.
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Updated: June 1, 2018 01:40 PM