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Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico as a high-end Category 4 hurricane on September 20, 2017, resulting in the island’s most severe natural disaster in modern history. A series of cascading infrastructure failures compounded the direct effects of the hurricane; scores of people died from lack of aid, electricity, water, and access to medical care.
Since December 28, 2019, a series of earthquakes has been impacting the southwest region of the island, displacing thousands of families, crippling the local economy, destroying vital infrastructure, and further delaying the ongoing rebuilding process that started in the catastrophic aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
At least 4,645+ people died amid the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria — more than 70 times the official government death toll of 64, according to a new study from Harvard University.
4,645+ quickly became a symbol of the trauma and frustration that Puerto Ricans have experienced. This Special event titled “+” is meant as a stark visual reminder of all who lost their lives. With the rake and stencil in hand, and with the help of volunteers the plan is to etch the beach with hundreds of approx. 5ft.x 5t. “+” taking over as much of the beach as possible.
Each “+” marks a life lost, but also brings attention to the island in a way where mark “+” was used in old treasure maps. A “+” that marks the location of buried treasure, a lost mine, a valuable secret or a hidden locale.
With the help of volunteers and local residents, this temporary public sand installation will only last a few hours before being washed away by the tide.
To all interested who would like to be part of this project, please email Martyna Matusiak.