Aid for Our Commonwealth Island

Coast Guard crews deliver supplies to remote location in Puerto Rico

Flickr / Coast Guard News

Kaetlyn Dembkoski
Staff Writer

Even though Hurricane Maria made its mark almost a month ago, Puerto Rico is still buried in rubble and trying to repair as much as they can. While help is trying its best to get the island back together again, it isn’t coming fast enough. As a result, dark times have washed over Puerto Rico since Maria’s devastating attack. As a Commonwealth to the United States, our country needs to provide more assistance to Puerto Rico, in any way possible, to get it up and running again.

Since hurricanes are such deadly forces, precautions prior to their arrival and as much assistance as needed after their leave is necessary to keeping all countries afloat. However, recent attention has been focused almost exclusively for victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. While the island is still receiving help from the United States, the help is not as widespread as it is for the states affected by Harvey and Irma.

Even though they are a Commonwealth, Puerto Rican residents are American citizens too, just like you or me. While all victims of any storm in question need to be cared for, the people of Puerto Rico are dealing with much harder times, such as a lack of medical supplies for the injured and very limited food and fresh water available across the entire island. When Hurricane Irma made a quick stop in Puerto Rico, two weeks prior to Maria, it was estimated that it cut out power to at least 1 million people. And after Maria trampled the entire island, the power situation only got worse, delaying power’s return from a few weeks to months or potentially a year.

The people of Puerto Rico don’t just have power issues, though; the basic essentials of food, water, fuel, shelter and more are extremely scarce. Puerto Ricans are left to scavenge and rummage around for fresh water and wait in lines for fuel. A month has passed and these conditions have not changed, as families are left without homes or any belongings to call their own as they try to keep themselves alive.

More help needs to be funneled toward the island’s relief to speed up the process. However, the U.S. government isn’t moving quickly enough to assist these helpless U.S. citizens from natural disaster. To make matters worse, President Trump isn’t making these circumstances any easier. In his tweets five days after the hurricane, President Trump decided to insult the Puerto Ricans and their government. Rather than mention the need for help and the U.S.’s plans for that assistance, he began his message by attacking Puerto Rico for their infrastructure and debt problems.


His tweets here, as well as a later one on Thursday sends out quite a different meaning – one that suggests that the Unites States shouldn’t have to help at all. In the October tweets, he mentions that, despite the damage and helplessness that Puerto Rico faces now, America cannot help them for much longer and claims that “all [of Puerto Rico’s] infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes.”

Due to President Trump casting Puerto Rico aside, some Americans are unaware of the inhumane conditions that Puerto Ricans are experiencing. One of the easiest ways to help is to stay aware and spread the word of Puerto Rico’s  continued struggle. The death toll continues to rise from an early estimate of 19 to a now estimated 60, as without electricity, many hospital-bound patients are losing the machinery that keeps them breathing. Along with electricity, Puerto Ricans have a dire need for fresh, clean water with which to bathe and use the restroom to keep sickness from spreading.

Along with simply being aware of the ever-changing circumstances, there are plenty of charities and organizations collecting money to repair homes and get medical supplies, food and water to the people. By giving our support, perhaps the predicted “months without electricity” can become fixed faster, granting again normal lives to the people of Puerto Rico.

Categories: Columns, Opinions


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