SAU Buzz

Puerto Rico still suffering from after Hurricane Maria

by Mary Roche
Posted on Oct 04, 2017

Devastated by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has been struggling to recover. There is little to no clean water, internet and food.

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico would normally receive a significant amount of aid. In this circumstance, the President has lifted a shipping ban and approved disastrous declarations. These declarations required Puerto Rico to split the bill with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. However, supplies have taken a long time to get there.

San Juan’s mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, has been doing countless interviews to bring attention to Puerto Rico’s plight. She called out the President and government for their delayed response.

“This is what we got last night: four pallets of water, three pallets of meals and twelve pallets of infant food—I gave them to the people of Comerio, where people are drinking off a creek. So I am done being polite. I am done being politically correct.”

After receiving some supplies for San Juan, she did a TV interview asking for help for the 77 other towns that need assistance.

The President seemed upset by Mayor Cruz’s comments and went on to attack her via Twitter.

The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago,” Trump tweeted in a thread last Friday, “has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.”

His thread went on to accuse the U.S. territory’s citizens of wanting everything to be done for them. In news briefings, he had also blamed the delay on the Atlantic Ocean.

"This isn’t like Florida where we can go right up the spine or like Texas where we go right down the middle and we distribute,” he said. “This is a thing called the Atlantic Ocean, this is tough stuff.”

Later, the President revised the disaster declarations so the federal government would foot the entire bill. Mayor Cruz isn’t sure that will be good enough. FEMA requires people in need of assistance to register via internet and few places still have internet access at the moment. She pleaded for efficiency and adaptation, claiming that is the basis of the United States.

"I will do what I never thought I was going to do,” she said. “I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency."

The President discussed problems with the infrastructure of the island, including their debt. However, the Trump International Golf Club Puerto Rico defaulted on government bonds, meaning that hundreds of thousands of dollars of that debt has resulted from a Trump property.

Roughly, federal aid should arrive this week. In the meantime, many celebrities have asked fans and followers to donate to organizations helping Puerto Rico. In this situation, many organizations have asked for cash to directly help citizens. PBS’s top organizations in Puerto Rico include United for Puerto Rico, UNICEF, Center for Popular Democracy and the One America Appeal, run by former U.S. presidents.