Puerto Ricans Still Awaiting Support
Since tearing through the Island earlier this week, Hurricane Maria has killed 16 people and has left Puerto Rico in a state of misery. Resources are scarce in the country, people use what little energy they have only to collect necessities. It is a time of distress. Less than 3% of the population has been left with working electricity after Maria ripped through the Island’s electrical grid. Only half of the population has running water, and food is heavily rationed. Puerto Ricans are still awaiting aid from the federal government, who have not provided nearly as much help after Hurricane Maria as they did for Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey.
Although the federal government has not yet provided a sufficient amounts of supplies, 2,500 troops are in the territory and another 2,000-3,000 troops have been transported with almost two tons of water. These numbers may seem high, but unfortunately they are not enough to support the 3.4 million Puerto Ricans in distress. Two people died while in an intensive care unit this week at a San Juan hospital due to its generator running out of diesel. The hospital was unable to run itself without electricity and fuel, so those on life support were helpless. The scarcity of these resources has left many Puerto Ricans resorting to desperate measures. Natural sources like rain and streams have been the only way for many to collect drinking water, whether it is clean or not. This last week, people brought dozens of gas cans to fill at a time, after waiting multiple hours in lines that began at sunrise. Generators have powered what little energy the Island has access to, while the rest sit in darkness during the evenings. AT&T has brought in floating antennas to help Puerto Ricans re-connect with worried friends and family, although many struggle to use them without electricity.
Trump announced he will visit Puerto Rico next Tuesday, nearly two weeks after Maria struck the US commonwealth.
“Puerto Rico is a very difficult situation,” he said last Wednesday. “I feel so badly for the people.”
With days and weeks of struggle to come, we can only hope that Puerto Rico can recover from this disaster. The government will continue its aid of supplies, exponentially bringing more and more to the Puerto Ricans. Hurricane Maria will take months to fully come back from, but Puerto Ricans should have the support that they need.