It’s been roughly a year since Hurricane Maria — the tenth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record — devastated the island of Puerto Rico. The storm killed more than 2,900 people, left millions of homes and businesses without power, and caused an estimated $8 billion in damage. It’s the worst natural disaster on record in Puerto Rico’s history.
San Juan-based Wovenware, a 15-year-old software engineering company, was on the front lines. CEO and founder Christian G. González described the recovery effort as “ongoing.”
“We are still living with its effects,” he said, “from an unstable power grid that needs to be redesigned from the ground up to a collective sense of PTSD that compels us to buy excessive amounts of water and fuel whenever a new storm forms in the Atlantic Ocean.”
Another, less-reported consequence of Hurricane Maria is an explosion of disease-carrying mosquitoes brought on by stagnant water. (The mosquitoes themselves don’t cause disease; rather, they pick up diseases from infected blood and spread them through bites.) Two years ago, Puerto Rico registered 38,058 confirmed cases of Zika, dengue, and chikungunya.
The Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust — a San Juan-based nonprofit organization that aims to foster growth in the island’s tech sector — in 2016 won a $50 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to combat the spread of mosquitos on the island, with the goal of learning why a number of species have developed immunities to FDA-approved adulticides and larvicides.
But monitoring, testing, and…