From: Boston Childrens Hospital
Published November 14, 2017 10:33 AM

Cellphone Data Reveals Hurricane Maria's Impact on Travel in Puerto Rico

Nearly two months after Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico, the infrastructural damage remains evident — today, FEMA estimates that only 41 percent of the island has had power restored. But the impact on human behavior is just beginning to be understood.

Research collaborators from the Boston Children’s Hospital Computational Epidemiology Group, MIT Media Lab and Google, Inc., have shed light on the particulars of when people chose to move out of the hurricane’s path and how much travel has been hindered since destructive winds and flooding knocked Puerto Rico off the grid.

As described in an eLetter published in Science by Boston Children’s research fellow, Moritz Kraemer, PhD, the team used an aggregate of real-time, anonymous data gathered by Google location services to discover that travel out of Puerto Rico rose 20 percent the day before Hurricane Maria hit. There was also an influx of travel into the capital city of San Juan, where people hoped to find shelter.

Read more at Boston Children's Hospital

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