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Havoc in Puerto Rico

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“Puerto Rico national guard work to assess damages after recent Hurricane strike”

“Puerto Rico national guard work to assess damages after recent Hurricane strike”

National Guard

National Guard

“Puerto Rico national guard work to assess damages after recent Hurricane strike”

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Almost 3.4 million people left without power. Individuals rationing food and water. Many sacrificing what they can just to get by. Facing devastation and destruction alone, Puerto Rico is struggling to deal with difficulties presented following Hurricane Maria and  is left searching for hope. As President Donald Trump takes action to aid in rebuilding Puerto Rico, many wonder when action will actually be taken.

On Friday, Sept. 29, Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, gave an emotional speech to her fellow Puerto Ricans, saying, “We are dying here. And I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out the logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles.

To respond, President Trump lashed out at her on Twitter, calling Cruz and her fellow government officials leadership abilities“poor”, and accusing Puerto Rico of wanting everything done for them by the U.S. government.

Puerto Rico’s government can’t function, homes are destroyed, and millions of people are left without basic necessities. People living in Puerto Rico have become victims with no ability to take action. The condition of Puerto Rico, following the events of both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria,  is unprecedented and call for special attention. Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) reported that after first assessing the damage, Lieutenant General Jeffrey S. Buchanan, the Department of Defense’s primary military liaison with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), stated that it was “the worst situation he had ever seen.”

Later, on Oct. 1, Trump went to Twitter again, exclaiming how great of a job that he and U.S. officials were doing in Puerto Rico. He thanked the governor of Puerto Rico and anyone else working with U.S. First Response for the fantastic job.

 

However, it appears that his statement couldn’t be any further from the truth. That same day, Carlos García, a Puerto Rican resident, explained the current condition of the country, saying, “I waited 12 hours today to get fuel to go work and the fuel tanker never arrived at the station. There are over 1,200 containers with aid and supplies (food, everything since we are on an island) that cannot be distributed as truckers don’t have diesel for trucks.”

Even with the U.S. helping the country, the process of bringing Puerto Rico back to its feet is extremely slow. Supplies that can’t be delivered provide no assistance. As of Oct. 4, a third of grocery stores and gas stations remain closed and without power according to The New York Times. Most of the island is still without power. And without power, basic functions are nearly impossible.

García ended by saying, “I have seen a grand total of two National Guard trucks going from Ponce up Cayey since the hurricane. That’s all the U.S. military presence I’ve seen first hand. 99 percent of everything has been done by us, manually. That’s the current situation in a nutshell, no BS.”

The situation in Puerto Rico is devastating. It is an issue that needs to be taken seriously by everyone, including our leaders. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that our own territory is asking for our help after seeing how badly they’ve been impacted by the storm. Our country should take initiative as fast as possible without them having to beg for help. If you were put into their situation, you would hope for just the same.

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Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401
Havoc in Puerto Rico