Did we forget that Puerto Rico is still in crisis?
It seems like immediately after Hurricane Maria, every American was up on their soapbox about how terrible it was—then come November, it was like the idea collectively left our minds. Hurricanes got buried under tax plans and sexual assault allegations. As long as hurricane damage with Irma was a problem in Texas, hurricane damage around the world was a really big deal to Americans. Now, not so much. We’ve got net neutrality and taxes to worry about.
It shouldn’t matter whatsoever that, in a territory that is populated by U.S. citizens, stuff still looks like this:
Aguadilla, Puerto Rico -- Posted 12/21/2017. Photo by ActivateNow
The photographer that took this shot, Ed Higgins, is currently in Puerto Rico operating as a representative for the newly-formed independent party, a journalist and a humanitarian. He ran a live Facebook audio Thursday about what he has seen firsthand and what exactly the people need.
Potable water, according to Higgins and Puerto Ricans themselves, is one of the biggest concerns at this point. Higgins said it has been “bleached so badly it’s not really drinkable.” Power in the region in which he is staying is supplied mostly through generators.
Some FEMA workers are also allegedly not doing their jobs; Higgins has heard that they are “being paid to hang out at casinos [and] hotels,” and that they are doing the loan and housing checks but not much else.
Over the phone, Higgins also described a man that was paid $20 to climb trees in the middle of the island and search for dead bodies. In a single day, the man reportedly found over 200 of them.
The apagón, the blackout that is currently affecting Puerto Rico, is the “longest and largest blackout in modern American history.” Since most of the water is under boil order, people can’t drink it without electricity to heat it.
The United States is the tenth wealthiest country in the world, yet citizens are still without clean drinking water or power two months after hurricane Maria hit. Dead bodies are still stuck in trees.
How many news articles have you read on any of this?
The thing is, Puerto Rican newspapers are covering hurricane recovery; we just don’t see it here in the U.S. We’re too busy with our tax plans and accusations of who sexually assaulted whom to focus on the actual welfare of our citizens.
That may sound biting and for that, I apologize. Tax plans and sexual assault are also important issues. All I'm saying is that most of the people reading this are privileged enough to not have to worry about basic necessities. We need to realize that this is not so for all United States citizens.
We're not a perfect country. We've got people hurting. Let's step up and quit pretending we don't.