The Struggle for Survival in Puerto Rico: A Latino USA Photo Essay

One month after Hurricane Maria ravaged the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, living on the island is still a struggle for survival. Producer Andrés Caballero set out to the island to capture some of the stories of the survivors, that aired in the Latino USA episode, “Surviving the Storm.”

Videographer and photographer Fabián Caballero was also there to capture images, three weeks after the category 4 storm hit on September 20. According to the latest update, 25% of the population —3.5 million Americans— is currently without water and energy consumption off the power grid is at 25%.

With only half of its walls still standing, a home in Aibonito was reduced to a pile of wood and sheet metal.


A row of homes in Aibonito stand close to an area where a landslide occurred.

Power lines in Yabucoa hang low over the street after an electrical post was snapped in half by the storm.

This photo shows the remains of what was the structure and roof of a local school’s basketball court in Yabucoa.

An emergency response vehicle drives by debris that has been cleared from the road by local residents in Yabucoa.


Damaged homes in Yabucoa sit on a hill amongst what is left of the vegetation.

The front door of Yabucoa’s La Alcaldía, or Town Hall, was destroyed.


With school indefinitely closed, two boys from Yabucoa take rides around the streets on their bicycles.


A small statue of Jesus in Yabucoa remains standing, surrounded by decimated vegetation that once gave it cover.

Aid workers and local residents Barranquitas work together to unload aid that’s been delivered by helicopter.

Residents of Barranquitas wait in a long line to receive food and water that’s been delivered by helicopter.

Río La Plata, the river that runs through Comerío, flooded the houses that lay along its banks.

Made homeless by the storm, a young mother and her two-month-old baby now live at the local school in Comerío that’s been turned into a shelter.

Inmates from Bayamón Correctional Complex, a prison in northern part of the island, are sent as laborers to clear debris from the roads in the mountain town of Comerío.

The empty halls of the Centro de Tratamiento, or Treatment Center, in Yabucoa. Powered by a generator, the center closes its doors at 7pm every evening in order to conserve diesel for the generator.

The USNS Comfort sits at the port of San Juan.

Concerned families walk into the Guayama Correctional Complex to deliver aid to inmates three weeks after the storm.

Families wait to deliver aid to inmates of the maximum security section of Guayama Correctional Complex.