Hurricane Maria Could Cost Puerto Rico An Entire Year’s Worth Of Economic Output

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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The damage caused by Hurricane Maria is nearly equivalent to an entire year of economic activity on Puerto Rico, according to analysts.

Moody’s Analytics estimates Puerto Rico lost up to $40 billion in lost economic output and suffered another $55 billion in property damage because of Maria, which hit the island as a Category 4 storm more than a week ago.

That’s $95 billion in economic costs, roughly on par with an entire year of economic activity on Puerto Rico. The island territory’s output was more than $100 billion in 2016.

The storm only adds to Puerto Rico’s economic woes. The country has seen its economy and population contract in the last decade as the government grapples with massive amounts of debt.

Puerto Rico declared for bankruptcy protection in May, the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. The island was $70 billion debt.

Maria has only made things harder.

Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, plunging the nearly whole island into darkness and depriving many residents of clean drinking water, food and other supplies.

Puerto Rico’s roads and transportation networks are so heavily damaged, officials are having trouble getting aid across the island.

Moody’s said Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused more than $150 billion in damage to Texas, Florida and Georgia. Harvey brought record rainfall to Texas in late August and Irma inundated south Florida with massive storm surge.

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