Puerto Ricans gather to remember lives lost in Hurricane Maria
Five years ago, Hurricane Maria hit the Island of Puerto Rico, claiming the lives of thousands, and leaving behind immense damage across the island.
For Manhattan resident Walter Alomar, he says the aftermath is something he will never forget.
“When I was there, I saw the devastation I could never imagine,” said Alomar.
He was working as a lineman repairing power lines for people after the storm hit, and saw the damages that people were dealing with. He was inspired to build a monument to honor the lost lives when he returned to the United States.
The monument now sits in the courtyard of Taino Towers in East Harlem, and Alomar says it took him about four years to complete.
The anniversary of Hurricane Maria comes as Puerto Rico is dealing with flooding and stormy conditions from Hurricane Fiona – something Alomar says may restart the recovery process he saw five years ago.
"There's still thousands of homes that have not been repaired completely and still have blue tarp on them,” said Alomar. “And now with this current devastation everything is basically going to start from zero."
Alamor says the monument’s significance helps people in New York stay connected to Puerto Rico. The numbers on the monument represent the number of lives taken.