EDITORIAL: Time to stand with Puerto Rico


Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico and other U.S. Virgin Islands with high winds and massive flooding. The hurricane has left the island off the grid by flooding streets, damaging buildings, plummeting telecommunication poles and knocking out power for the next few months all across the island. The hurricane also left a dam in a compromised condition, which is threatening to cause a major flood. This could also cause a loss of water for the residents who are already struggling to find food. 

It’s time to stand with Puerto Rico and not let it languish from post-hurricane miseries.

Washington has allowed similar emergency funds and resources for Puerto Ricans that were earlier provided to Texas and Florida in their hurricane sufferings.

Emergency relief is their best hope for recovery from the apocalyptic situation in which Hurricane Maria left them. The natural disaster has compounded the island’s endless sufferings: the terrible debt crisis, decade-long recession and government bankruptcy to name a few.

The current situation of the island is nothing short of a disaster which has impacted millions of lives. Iowa state community members from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands were in a great panic about their families when the hurricane hit their hometowns.

The first lady of Puerto Rico, along with community members on the mainland, have already spearheaded the campaigns for collecting donations to help with crisis relief. But nothing will be more helpful than the government’s role in rehabilitating the island, where 46 percent of the population were living below the poverty line even before the hurricane.  

According to Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez, Maria has set Puerto Rico back 20 to 30 years. Recovery specialists are estimating that economic damage could be as much as $30 billion, and federal aid will be the most critical factor in the revival of the island.

Puerto Ricans should stay strong and united after this harsh natural catastrophe. Although they have been enabled for the emergency fund by the government, all Americans should join hands and stand with their fellow citizens left suffering on the island. It’s time to help them, not to debate their economic crisis and damages they suffered from the hurricane.