Treat Puerto Rico like a state

Photo credit: Rewon Shimray

In times of terrible crisis, our country bands together to ensure the well-being of the individuals and families affected.These events bring people together and help us realize that life is fragile and sometimes it’s vital that we reach out an extra helping hand.

Puerto Rico is currently suffering from a major crisis— Hurricane Maria. About two weeks ago, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds. Since then, the island of Puerto Rico has been struggling to survive. So far, Hurricane Maria has caused 95 percent of the island to be without power, has killed 16 people and has ruined numerous homes, hospitals and supermarkets.

This is not something we, as U.S. citizens, should ignore. While Puerto Rico is only a U.S. territory, the people there are still U.S. citizens. Therefore, they are deserving of the same response a U.S. state would get from the federal government.

So far, the U.S. government has not done its duty in providing the country with adequate resources — ones that they would have given a U.S. state in a heartbeat. Many families are still struggling to get power and some people have run out of water and food. Their homes have been wrecked, families have been split apart and communication is limited. They need our help now more than ever to help them get their feet back on the ground, but sadly the U.S. government is not acting like this is their responsibility.

The U.S. government needs to realize this quickly, and begin to intervene more in the well-being of Puerto Rico. Rather than only giving one water bottle and one meal to each family, we need to give at least one meal and one water bottle per person.

So far, our president’s response to this natural disaster has been disappointing. While some may argue that he has provided support, it’s been minimal and he’s done it unwillingly, which is altogether upsetting.

On Wednesday, Trump threw paper towels to victims, acting as if he were throwing scraps for dogs to fight over. While the paper towels are necessary and useful, the way he distributed the resources was inappropriate and insulting.

As of right now, it is predicted that parts of Puerto Rico could be without power for a year. This is not OK. If Florida were to be without power for a year, how would the U.S. government respond? Would it let this happen?

The lack of response is appalling, as we have so many resources that were available for Houston and Florida, but not for Puerto Rico.

Thankfully, there are examples of kind-hearted companies out there that are giving relief to the island of Puerto Rico, such as Royal Carribean.

Royal Carribean loaded up a cruise ship with supplies last Thursday, and took this medicine, water, diapers, pet food, milk and ice to the island, in addition to picking up 1,700 evacuees.

This is the kind of support Puerto Rico needs, but they need it from a larger force, the U.S. government. While they have sent some resources and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been sent in, they aren’t doing enough the support Puerto Ricans and to ensure that they are all completely safe.

Even though the fastest way for Puerto Rico to recover would be for a bigger force such as the U.S. government intervening, we can also contribute in small ways. Right now, the majority of organizations are asking for donations and supplies to send support to Puerto Rico, and some are even asking for volunteers to help the island.

We need to fight for Puerto Rico. Whether we contribute in small ways, by giving donations or on a broader scale, encouraging the U.S. government to provide more support, we must band together to help our neighbors in need.