Puerto Rico Is Still Reeling from Hurricane Maria and Needs Help Now
Only 44% of the country has access to clean drinking water.
One week after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, the island still remains in dire need of assistance.
The category four storm ripped directly through the US territory, bringing with it torrential rain, winds up to 155 MPH, massive storm surges, and flooding. The ensuing destruction was so devastating officials went as far as to call the storm’s aftermath “apocalyptic.”
The island’s 3.4 million residents are now reeling to assess the damage to their homes and cities. It has been estimated by the catastrophe-modeling firm AIR Worldwide that the storm caused between $40-$85 billion in damages to property and infrastructure.
Puerto Rico is facing a full-blown humanitarian crisis.
Still, aid is slowly but surely trickling into the island. Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló made a point Wednesday to reassure residents that the federal government was taking immediate measures to assist the island.
"We are getting help from the federal government, but this is an unprecedented set of circumstances," Rosselló said on Wednesday. "We want to make sure that we recognize that a lot of resources are coming in. They are coming in by air or by boats. But they are starting to execute."
However, many believe the government’s response to the crisis has been insufficient, and too slow, especially when compared to recent efforts to hurricane aftermath in Texas and Florida.
In response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, 31,000 federal personnel were sent to Texas and 40,000 were sent to Florida within days of the events, according to CNN.
So far, only 10,000 personnel have been sent to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, as stated in a tweet from FEMA.
Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Puerto Rico next week. In a news conference Tuesday Trump defended the administration's handling of the crisis, attributing the apparent disparity in relief efforts to the fact that Puerto Rico is an island.
"This is a thing called the Atlantic ocean, this is tough stuff," he remarked.
In the private sector, several celebrities have stepped up to contribute to relief efforts. The Puerto Rican rapper Pitbull sent his private jet to the island in order to transport cancer patients to the US mainland for chemotherapy treatments.
Similarly, the Dallas Mavericks’ head coach and multi-millionaire Mark Cuban donated his private plane to point-guard J.J. Barea in order to fly supplies to Puerto Rico.
Barea started a fundraising effort on crowdfunding site YouCaring. It has received over $127,000 from more than 1,000 donors since it began on September 20.
For Global Citizens interested in donating to victims of Hurricane Maria, check out the article below with links to several charities working to provide aid in Puerto Rico.
Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals, one of which is access to clean water and sanitation. To take action for the millions of people lacking access to these basic resources and more in the wake of recent extreme weather events, click here.