Our beloved Puerto Rico has faced destruction beyond measure in the past few weeks and it only seems to be getting worse. Hurricane season has hit the U.S. hard, and the citizens of these areas need our help– especially our island-citizens in the Caribbean. While it has been an all-hands-on-deck effort for states like Texas and Florida, sadly, Puerto Rico is not receiving the same government aid.
While about 40 percent of the island is still without power, the victims of Hurricane Maria are now facing more destructive factors and are struggling to stay alive. Earlier in October, President Donald Trump mentioned that Puerto Rico was "throwing our budget a little out of whack" and followed with downplaying their crisis compared to a "real catastrophe" like Hurricane Katrina. Hundreds of lives were lost in New Orleans, whereas, in the wake of this hurricane 16 were lost. Trump compares the small number of 16 people to the hundreds lost back in 2005. Does a smaller amount of deaths make it less important to the president? Or is it their status as U.S. citizens not living on the mainland?
Celebrities, nurses and all kinds of volunteers have taken matters into their own hands in the effort to help their fellow citizens trapped on the island. With the delayed decision to waive the Jones Act and very little FEMA aid by the Trump administration, the people of Puerto Rico are feeling helpless and stranded. Those who have made their way to the island to help have documented their experience and it is nothing but gruesome and heart-breaking. According to Newsweek, a registered nurse who has volunteered with the teacher's union named Misty Richards says she worries about a slow increase in deaths among the people in rural communities. They have been deprived of and lack access to real nutrition and medicine and it doesn't seem to be looking up.
In an interview with Newsweek, Richards mentioned "I wish I could say that I thought it wasn’t a socioeconomic caste system, but it absolutely is " and "These Puerto Ricans are being treated like they are disposable. It's been inhumane.” A majority of government officials have voted against additional aid, and it seems as though helping those in dire need is not viewed as a duty, but rather a chore. Despite being granted U.S. citizenship, Puerto Ricans have mostly been left to deal with this catastrophe on their own.