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How Mini-Grids Can Power Disaster Recovery

New Energy Technologies and the Future of Humanitarian Aid

A worker of Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority (PREPA) repairs part of the electrical grid after Hurricane Maria hit the area in September, in Manati, Puerto Rico October 2017. Alvin Baez / REUTERS

It has been more than a month since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and still some 60 percent of the island (close to one million customers) remains without power. The situation has risen to the level of a humanitarian crisis: the lack of power also translates to deficits of clean water, refrigeration for food, and essential medicines (even as disease-spreading conditions escalate), and vital telecommunications. Schools in U.S. mainland areas with large Puerto Rican communities—including Miami, New York, and other East Coast cities—are preparing to receive thousands of new students as families abandon the island rather than potentially going months without basic services. Community advocates are stepping forward to assist the newly displaced, but the road ahead is daunting.

Puerto Ricans displaced by the storm join the ranks of some 66 million other people around the world who have been forced from their homes because of war, instability, or

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