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Anticipated Vulnerabilities: Displacement and Migration in the Age of Climate Change, a report on the experiences of the effect of Hurricane Maria on the City of Holyoke.

Posted on August 3, 2020

Hurricane Maria Report

Anticipated Vulnerabilities: Displacement and Migration in the Age of Climate Change, a report on the experiences of the effect of Hurricane Maria on the City of Holyoke.


Hurricane Maria was a deadly category 5 Hurricane that devastated the Caribbean on September 20, 2017, especially the island of Puerto Rico where it’s destructive force is viewed as the worst natural disaster in recorded history to strike the island. The devastating consequences were thousands of deaths and injuries on people, and catastrophic infrastructural damage. It is estimated that around 150,000 people had to flee and seek refuge outside of the island.  


The City of Holyoke, home to the highest concentration of Puerto Ricans outside of Puerto Rico, welcomed with open arms these individuals displaced by climate change and provided compassionate assistance. “Holyoke proudly supported displaced friends and family from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit the Island, and it’s important to understand the ways in which that should be replicated or improved in future climate Catastrophes.” said Mayor Alex Morse.

To this point the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College of the University of New York and El Instituto: The Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean and Latin American Studies of the University of Connecticut released a study of the City of Holyoke’s response to the influx of people displaced by Hurricane Maria. The report examined the needs for housing, medical, education, and social services displaced persons most of whom had lost everything. It also exhibits the effective coordination of services from the government and the social services sector, assisted by the local civic sector, and the willingness and readiness of its political leadership to respond forthrightly, which contributed to fulfilling to the extent possible under very the immediate demands those displaced individuals and families presented to Holyoke. 


The study was commissioned by the City of Holyoke and made possible thanks to a Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Grant awarded to the City in 2018.

The report can be accessed by clicking here or by visiting:

About the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Centro): The Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY (Centro) is the nation’s leading university-based institution devoted to the interdisciplinary study of the Puerto Rican experience in the United States. Centro is dedicated to understanding, preserving, and sharing the Puerto Rican experience in the United States. Centro also collects, preserves, and provides access to library resources documenting Puerto Rican history and culture. Centro seeks to link scholarship to social action and policy debates, and to contribute to the betterment of our community and the enrichment of Puerto Rican studies.


About Institute for Latino/a, Caribbean and Latin American Studies (El Instituto): On July 1, 2012, the University of Connecticut’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences inaugurated El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies, through a merger of the former Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS, established in 1974) and the former Institute of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies (IPRLS, established in 1994). El Instituto is a multidisciplinary research and teaching institute that stands in service of the information needs of Latinx people in Connecticut and nationwide as well as advancing scholarship, creative endeavors and undergraduate and graduate instruction and academic advising across multiple disciplines in the fields of Latinx and Latin American studies. By merging Latinx and Latin American studies, El Instituto supports the development of hemispheric perspectives on issues of core relevance to both critical ethnic studies and world area studies: coloniality, race, migration, education, media, human development, health, visual and literary culture, and human rights.

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