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Puerto Rico Still Reeling From Hurricane Maria

by Alex Hearn

On September 20th, 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. Since then Puerto Rico has had a hard time getting back up on its feet, with very little support from America.

Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States has been in trouble since the hurricane hit. They have been short of supplies and about 95% of Puerto Rico is without power. Only 12 percent of people have cell service at the moment. [1] “Imagine America only having 12 percent of cell service and only 5 percent of people having power. That would be devastating,” said reporter Elizabeth McLaughlin from ABC news. This power outage is affecting important building such as hospitals. 50% of the hospitals have to use generators and only 14 percent have electricity. [1]

Speaking of hospitals, Puerto Rico’s health system has been in shambles. People are dying for many different reasons. Some people are dying due to the primitive conditions. There is a lack of transportation that makes it hard to transfer people to different hospitals. There is a lack of communication between different hospitals that made some hospitals even more overcrowded. [2] To summarize the situation: it’s bad.

Puerto Rico’s economy was already pretty bad. But it got worse since the hurricane. Puerto Rico has been in a recession since around 2012. Their economy was already is a bad state even before the hurricane. One of Puerto Rico’s biggest problems is its debt. They have 74 billion dollars in bond debt and 49 billion dollars in unfunded pension obligations. Puerto Rico is looking into getting a lot of that debt forgiven. [3]

The amount of help America is giving is controversial to say the least. Donald Trump has been criticized for not supporting or caring about Puerto Rico through this time of crisis. Trump seems to think that NFL players kneeling is more important than the earthquake of Puerto Rico. Trump stated that the death toll was only 16. Despite 16 being the wrong and the actual death toll being 36, Trump fails to realize that the reason the death toll is so low is because the communication systems in most of Puerto Rico are down. “I feel that Trump’s response to this whole thing has been bad,¨ stated sophomore Eric Bain. Trumps slow reaction to the situation has hurt Puerto Rico a lot.

Just because Trump may not have done the best job supporting Puerto Rico does not mean you can’t help. Tracey Kibler said, “The devastation of Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico is catastrophic. However, Puerto Rico having lost so much with so little ability to restore and rebuild without our support needs our donations and charitable work.  I encourage all of our students to send in items that are being collected through our various clubs. It is the American Way to help those in need!¨

You can help support the people in Puerto Rico by donation to the Puerto Rico relief fund. [5] Any help is appreciated.