Today marks one month since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, devastating the island and changing its future forever.
In the weeks that have followed, the magnitude of the disaster has slowly become clear: As of today, about 82% of the island still doesn't have electricity, 31% remains without water (and those that have access to water, don't know whether it's potable), and 48% of telecommunications systems are still down.
It will take a long time for Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory that was already in a deep economic crisis before the storm, to recover from the devastation. As a result, people are fleeing the island in droves. (Puerto Ricans have been natural-born U.S. citizens since 1917, so they can just move stateside.)
Refinery29 spoke with seven Puerto Rican women about their decision to leave the island. In many ways, they're luckier than most: They had the financial resources to leave and a support system waiting for them stateside. Many Puerto Ricans who want to leave, or have already left the territory, don't have the same advantages.
Still, leaving suddenly means these women are starting anew without knowing what the next day will bring. Ahead, they tell us their experiences in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria, what their hopes are for their new lives stateside, and whether they would ever go back home.