After Maria: Everyday recovery from disaster

A graphic novella, produced by Dr Gemma Sou from our Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, explores how low-income Puerto Rican families recovered from the impacts of Hurricane Maria.

On 20 September 2017, the ‘biggest storm in Caribbean history’ Hurricane Maria struck the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico causing over US$30 billion in damage. But what happened after the storm passed? How did the people recover and what were the long-term and hidden impacts?

For one year, Dr Gemma Sou and Dr Felix Aponte-Gonzalez conducted ethnographic research, following 16 low-income Puerto Rican families to find out how they recovered from Maria. Gemma turned this research into a 20-page graphic novella, free to download in English and in Spanish. Although the graphic novella tells the story of a fictional family, After Maria is based on the experiences that tie together all of the Puerto Rican families Gemma spoke to.

The novella is a creative way to communicate our research and reach different audiences. It also illustrates theories related to gender, inequality, resilience, poverty, disasters, cities and vulnerabilities and can be used as a teaching resource for anyone who wishes to use it.

Visit the HCRI webpages to read the novella in both English and Spanish and to see further information and videos.