Sheet roofs: Puerto Rico reels 2 years after Hurricane Maria | 9/20/2017 | Staff
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Sixto Marrero shivers every time the skies open in Puerto Rico.

The roof of his house was ripped off exactly two years ago by Hurricane Maria, and a tarpaulin sheet remains his only protection from the elements.

Home - Center - Capital - San - Juan

His home in the center of the capital San Juan is one of 30,000 that still have "blue roofs" as the awnings provided by US emergency aid agency FEMA are known.

Hurricane Maria—a category 4 storm—slammed in Puerto Rico, a US territory, on September 20, 2017, leaving much of the island flattened.

Death - Toll - Washington - Figure - Fatalities

The death toll has been much disputed, with Washington rejecting the local official figure of 3,000 fatalities as too high.

But such arguments are of little interest to locals such as 71-year-old Marrero.

Depression - AFP - Times - Years - Hurricane

"I have depression," he told AFP. "There have been times when I have thought that it is not worth being alive. Two years on, I am still suffering from the hurricane."

Marrero's wooden two-story house had a zinc sheet roof that was almost entirely destroyed by the hurricane, and his living quarters are damp with water seepage.

Time - Water - Enters - Roof - Buckets

"Every time it rains, the water enters, because there is no roof up there. We have to use buckets to collect the water. The electricity in the house was also damaged," said Marrero, who said he did not qualify for FEMA's aid program.

'Maria left me marked'

Kilometers - Miles - Municipality - Catano - Residences

About 13 kilometers (eight miles) away, in the coastal municipality of Catano, about 400 residences have blue sheets for roofs.

Mefhivoceth Santiago, who served in the US Army reserve, lost everything in the cyclone.

Aid - Assistance - FEMA - Stove - Refrigerator

He received $2,000 in aid assistance from FEMA, which he used to buy a stove, a refrigerator, a washing machine and other household items.

"It is not easy, but thank God the raindrops do not fall on the bed," he said, adding that leaks affect other parts of the house.

"When they announced the...
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