Relief for Puerto Rico

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, many Puerto Rican residents are left with no food or water and have seen little aid in many parts of the territory. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA) has delayed full action, with some people having gone twelve days without seeing any help.

President Trump has visited Puerto Rico and has said, “ We have gone all out for Puerto Rico… It’s not only dangerous, it’s expensive.”

FEMA has not begun giving full hurricane aid to Puerto Rico, but they have begun to start working on providing access to basic necessities like water, food and medical care. FEMA has been able to provide access to drinking water for 50 percent of the nation and have provided millions of meals thus far. Ninety-four percent of hospitals in Puerto Rico have been opened, as well as the extensive Department of Defense hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, that is now available for boarding and use as of October 3.

FEMA has also made available many options of transportation. One-hundred percent of all airports have been opened, and 92 percent of all ports open.

The one struggle they have yet to resolve are the roadways. Only 20 miles of roadway are cleared, with 12 major highways open, making land travel difficult, especially when working to deliver goods to rural communities.

Other organizations are supporting these citizens including The American Red Cross, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Save the Children, The International Medical Corps and more. Many groups have picked up and tried to give help as the government figures out the best way to aid Puerto Rico further.

The American Red Cross has ensured $100,000 to aid in hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and is shipping relief supplies such as water, rice, beans, ready-to-eat meals, cleanup kits, home repair kits, tarps, trash bags, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, and work gloves, among others. Cell phone services continue to be a problem for Puerto Rico, causing a desperate need for satellite phones, which the organization has taken on helping with.

UNICEF is sending in hurricane relief kits to children in Puerto Rico and is accepting donations via the UNICEF website. Other various organizations are supporting by collecting clothing and money donations to send to Puerto Rico.

All over the nation, Americans have united, and begun to give as much support as possible to the Puerto Rican population affected by the hurricane, as well as those in the Virgin Islands.

Kelsey Fitzpatrick

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