Hurricane Recovery in Puerto Rico
By Krista S.W.
It’s been around a year and a half since the occurrence of hurricanes Irma and Maria. While the island has been recovering behind the scenes, it still has a long way to go. Citizens are feeling the after effects of the hurricane.
You may recall some of the things President Trump has said about Puerto Rico. However, celebs like Jennifer Lopez, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Ricky Martin have raised money to support Puerto Rico’s recovery. Groups like the Foundation for Puerto Rico have helped rebuild communities, but there are still urges for federal aid, and many say that the federal government isn’t doing enough.
Major cities such as San Juan and Ponce have seen a fair recovery rate, but for less major areas like Punta Santiago, the recovery rate has been slower. Residents still live in damaged homes and about half of households in Punta Santiago live in poverty.
There have been reports that Puerto Rico’s recovery funds could go towards building the wall, which raised concerns among Puerto Rican politicians. Ponce mayor Maria Meléndez has said that they have been waiting to receive funds for 16 months, even with support from Congress.
An economic crisis has been happening on the island. Recently, around 1.35 million Puerto Ricans had their food stamp checks cut, and according to data from 2017, 44% of Puerto Rico’s population lives in poverty. Economic problems have been going on for years, but the hurricanes only made them worse.
Fortunately, there are ways to help Puerto Rico rebuild. You can volunteer, donate to charities, and even just visit there. Tourism helps rebuild the island and supports local businesses, in effect helping people to remain in employment. Since Puerto Rico is part of the U.S, you don’t need a passport in order to go. However you choose to help, you can feel good knowing that you care about your fellow U.S citizens.