Home > Building Resilience > The Response Podcast: How Puerto Ricans are Restoring Power to the People

The Response Podcast: How Puerto Ricans are Restoring Power to the People

October 11, 2018

Rescue center

by Robert Raymond, Shareable

In this second episode of our new radio documentary series The Response, we shine a spotlight on Puerto Rico. When Hurricane Maria slammed into the island about a year ago, it resulted in thousands of deaths and knocked out power for almost an entire year. The result was what many consider to be the worst disaster in the United States.

Further, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria exacerbated the ongoing debt crisis that has been crippling the country’s public services for years — a crisis that has forced many communities on the island abandon hope that the government will ever come to their assistance. And so when Hurricane Maria hit, it wasn’t a surprise to many of these already-abandoned communities when the official response was often nowhere to be seen.

This conversation has been told before by many mainstream news outlets. What you might not have heard, however, is the story of the grassroots response that arose after Maria. In the midst of all the austerity and hurricane-driven chaos, a quiet revolution has been slowly taking place on the island. What began as an impromptu community kitchen meant to help feed survivors in the town of Caguas has since grown into an island-wide network of mutual aid centers with the ultimate aim of restoring power — both electric and civic — to the people. We’ll hear from many of those involved in these centers and find out why they are growing so quickly and what they are doing to begin addressing both the acute and chronic disasters that Puerto Ricans are facing today.

Episode credits:

  • Senior producer, technical director, and designer: Robert Raymond
  • Field producer: Juan Carlos Dávila
  • Host and executive producer: Tom Llewellyn
  • Voiceover: Neda Raymond, Ellie Llewellyn, and Monique Hafen

Music by:

Header illustration by Kane Lynch

Listen and subscribe with the app of your choice:

For a full list of episodes, resources to cultivate resilience in your community, or to share your experiences of disaster collectivism, visit www.theresponsepodcast.org.

Read a transcript of the episode.

This season of The Response is part of the “From Stories into Action” project, a collaboration between Shareable,  Post Carbon InstituteTransition USUpstream Podcast, and NewStories, with distribution support from Making Contact. Funding was provided by the Threshold and SHIFT Foundations.

Listen to Episode 1, Episode 3