Puerto Rico has suffered the compounded effects of multiple disasters since the devastating impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. At the end of 2019, the island was impacted with recurrent seismic activity in the southwest region, and in January 2020 the unset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All these disasters are underscored by a crushing debt crisis and a federally mandated austerity regime since 2016. Recent disasters have revealed serious vulnerabilities in Puerto Rico’s preparedness planning, institutional response capacity and coordination, resource management at various levels of implementation, data availability, and the lack of suitable and accessible mechanisms to support adequate local community engagement. The collection of studies included in this special volume of CENTRO Journal show evidence of how post disaster recovery is progressing in Puerto Rico, the challenges and opportunities for local participation in reconstruction programs, and the potential of nonprofit organizations, municipalities, and local businesses to contribute to post disaster recovery in Puerto Rico. To date, the available evidence leads to a portrait of an uneven recovery. The studies included in this volume indicate that the long-term impact of post-disaster federal funding for economic recovery is contingent on implementing a comprehensive strategy for reforming public policy to encourage and support nonprofit developers’ participation in reconstruction programs, building industry capacity by strengthening intermediaries and CDCs, encouraging intra-industry partnerships and collaborations, and providing professional development for economic recovery.