Trapped in the Toxic lens of Hurricane María






Creative Commons Licence



Contributed date

May 16, 2019 - 9:09pm

Critical Commentary

On September 20, 2017 Hurricane Maria struck the island of Puerto Rico. The consequences were disastrous; no water, no electricity and no communication within the island or with the outside world. Although, more than a year has passed, people continue to live under precarious conditions.

The hurricane triggered a massive relief response, from governments, NGOs and individuals. However, not all of these responses were conducted equitably. Elements such as power, the political scene, Wallstreet interest and a top-bottom approach to disaster management cascaded the disaster into a real mess.

This photo combination explores how these toxic elements created before or after the event shaped the island response to Hurricane Maria. While my first photo essay (The Toxicity of the U.S Aid Relief) highlights the intended or unintended consequences of the relief process carried out by the U.S government on the island, this new set of images reflect on how strategies used by Puerto Ricans to resist toxic relief and aid can reproduce toxicity in itself.


Gabriel Hatuey Quiñones Reinat , “Super brigade en el parking del hormigueroa (2018). Copyright 2018 Gabriel Hatuey Quiñones Reinat



Cite as

Omar Perez-Figueroa, "Trapped in the Toxic lens of Hurricane María ", contributed by Omar Perez Figueroa, Center for Ethnography, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 1 June 2019, accessed 4 December 2021.