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From our Expert Voices conversation on Puerto Rico's recovery from Hurricane Maria.

The road forward should be thought of in two phases: recovering now, and rebuilding for the future.

The island and the emergency workers are still in the early recovery phase, clearing debris and repairing roads for accessibility and distribution of essential supplies, as well as restoring power and water infrastructures. Right now the challenge is to accomplish these activities as quickly as possible. Little consideration should be given to cost—what matters now is avoiding preventable deaths and extreme hardship.

Once the later recovery phase starts, however, a paramount challenge is the long-term survivability of the rebuilt infrastructure. Recovery budgets should be deployed wisely, keeping in mind that Puerto Rico is bound to experience more extreme weather events in the future. A power grid that is underground will be much more resilient to high winds. Power and water infrastructures that are decentralized and decoupled are less likely to completely fail due to disruptions and critical components can be recovered faster to provide partial relief.

The bottom line: More weather events on the scale of Hurricane Maria are inevitable, so now is the time to put into place a resilient infrastructure to mitigate the human toll and economic impact of future storms.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

Marion County Forensic Services vehicles are parked at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two assault rifles believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI said in a statement to news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.

U.S. and China agree to take joint climate action

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry waves as he arrives at the Elysee Presidential Palace on March 10, 2021 in Paris. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Despite an increasingly tense relationship, the U.S. and China agreed Saturday to work together to tackle global climate change, including by "raising ambition" for emissions cuts during the 2020s — a key goal of the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The joint communique released Saturday evening commits the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases to work together to keep the most ambitious temperature target contained in the Paris Climate Agreement viable by potentially taking additional emissions cuts prior to 2030.

Biden defends not immediately raising refugee cap

President Biden speaking with reporters after leaving his cart following his first round of golf as president at Wilmington Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware, on Saturday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Saturday sought to explain why he didn't immediately lift the Trump administration's historically low refugee cap.

Driving the news: Several Democrats accused Biden Friday of not fulfilling his pledge to raise the limit after it was announced he'd keep the cap. The White House said later it would be raised by May 15. Biden told reporters Saturday, "We're going to increase the number."