SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—On the evening before Valentine’s Day, shoppers flock to Plaza las Americas shopping center in the Hato Rey neighborhood of the island’s capital. At first blush, much of the city has recovered five months after Hurricane Maria.
Water has receded, the roads are clear of debris and the hundreds of thousands of people who were displaced by one of the most massive hurricanes on record have found shelter and power. Occasional blackouts now only last hours rather than days or weeks. Rural parts of the island however, where roughly 30% of Puerto Ricans live, remain in the dark.
Inside San Juan’s largest shopping center, there’s an inconspicuous corner storefront that serves as a reminder of one of the island’s most pressing issues. The sign on this storefront reads “Recargate” or “Recharge.”