“Provides compelling narratives about the harrowing experiences of Puerto Ricans on the island during Hurricane Maria, the many failures of the government in addressing the crisis both there and among evacuees in the United States, and their resilience in searching for solutions.”—Elizabeth Garcia, author of Healing Memories: Puerto Rican Women’s Literature in the United States
“A clear, accessible, insightful, and at times profound description of the experiences of Puerto Ricans displaced to Florida in the aftermath of the devastation created by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.”—Charles Venator-Santiago, author of Hostages of Empire: A Short History of the Extension of U.S. Citizenship to Puerto Rico, 1898–Present
“The power of this book is that we hear from Puerto Ricans in their own words—we hear about the challenges they faced during the storms and their aftermath as well as life after migration to Florida. An important read for anyone who wants to understand the experience of going through natural and man-made disasters.”—Elizabeth M. Aranda, author of Emotional Bridges to Puerto Rico: Migration, Return Migration, and the Struggles of Incorporation
Framed by the stories of Hurricane Maria evacuees, Tossed to the Wind: Stories of Hurricane Maria Survivors is the gripping account of the wreckage, despair, and displacement left in the wake of one of the deadliest natural disasters on U.S. soil. It is also a story of hope and endurance as Puerto Ricans on the island shared what little they had and the diaspora in Florida offered refuge.
Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a high-end Category 4, and the storm surge, flash flooding, and countless landslides created widespread devastation. One hundred percent of the island lost drinking water and electricity. More than 3 million U.S. citizens lived for months without power, making it the worst blackout in American history. The slow recovery led to a mass evacuation. Thousands gathered what they had left and traveled to Florida—already home to 1 million Puerto Ricans.
In Tossed to the Wind, María Padilla and Nancy Rosado interview Puerto Ricans from all walks of life who now live in Orlando and Kissimmee, who fight every day to pick up the pieces of their world after Hurricane Maria. In their own words, evacuees describe families living temporarily out of motels, parents anxious about providing for their children, children starting new schools, and everyone worried about the families and friends they left behind.
Told from the midst of chaos and incomprehensible loss, these are the stories—filled with pain and wisdom, sadness and laughter—that showcase the strength and resolve of Puerto Ricans.
María T. Padilla is the former editor of La Prensa in Orlando and founding editor of El Sentinel, the Spanish-language sister newspaper of the Orlando Sentinel.
Nancy Rosado is a retired NYPD sergeant, whose disaster response experience includes 9/11, the Pulse Night Club and Parkland shootings, as well as hurricanes Katrina and Maria.