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Articles by Paola Rosa-Aquino

Paola Rosa-Aquino is Grist's justice fellow.

Featured Article

Debris is removed from a main road in Guanica, Puerto Rico, after the quakes.

It was half-past 4 in the morning when a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked Puerto Rico on Tuesday, leaving the island at a standstill.

Half asleep in bed, I couldn’t work out what was happening until the whole house began to shift side to side. My parents quickly grabbed my dog and we scurried out of our house near Hatillo, along the island’s northern coast. We’d already established an evacuation plan following the 5.4-magnitude quake that had rattled our nerves just the previous morning, before we opened our presents on Three Kings Day, an important Christian holiday across Latin America.

And just like that, Puerto Rico plunged into darkness, again.

After the quake, 97 percent of the island lost power. I was in the dark, but at least my house was intact. I was one of the lucky ones. Buildings, schools, and historic churches crumbled along the U.S. territory’s southern coast in the cities of Ponce, Yauco, Guayanilla, Lajas, and Guanica. More than a thousand people sought shelter after their homes were reduced to rubble, and at least one person died after a wall in his home collapsed on him.

Wanda Vázquez, who became Puerto Rico’s governor in Augus... Read more

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