A year has passed since Hurricane Maria first made landfall in Puerto Rico, destroying homes, roads and vehicles in its path—and taking thousands of lives. The island languished for months as an insufficient emergency response campaign attempted to restore basic services like water and power. After a recent independent study , the official death toll was raised from the initial 64 to 2,975; analysis done by The New York Times , citing malnutrition and other food-based ailments as possible culprits for surging mortality in the storm’s aftermath, estimated that number could be more than 4,000. How could this happen? By taking out the island’s infrastructure like highways, trucks, gas stations and more, the storm also wiped out its agricultural supply lines. Puerto Rico imports about 85 percent of all its food, producing just 15 percent of what’s consumed on the island. In the wake of the storm, people stood in lines for hours and walked barely-stocked aisles looking for canned, non-perishable foods. Many relied on emergency responders and Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) meals , made of packaged and processed foods that require little to no preparation, like the beef jerky and crackers you’d expect to find in a […]

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