Puerto Rico One Year Later

I tried to read the Time Magazine article focused on the lessons learned from hurricane Maria; it was a beautifully-written and heart-wrenching piece about Puerto Rico one year later.[1] As I read the true horror stories, tears began to well up in my eyes: a man’s mother dying from a heart attack, another person keeping her insulin in a nearby stream to keep it cold because there was no electricity, the anguish of so many lives.

There is only so much human destruction a person can read — only so much devastation followed by the lies told by unconscionable powerful people — before the emotions pile up just like the wreckage caused by the storm.

Shock. Sympathy. Frustration. Empathy.

The pain of feeling what if: what if it were my mother, my son, my medicine.

The reality is that Puerto Rico is still fighting to return to normal.

Once again, I am confronting lies told by POTUS or his representatives. One week ago, Trump again stated that the claim of 2,975 deaths was a lie made up by Democrats.[2] However, that figure was the official number as reported by the same government he purportedly heads. And that number did not include individuals that the officials thought would have died anyway. Therefore, the number of deaths was even higher!

One Puerto Rican funeral home reported performing three funerals a day for three weeks. That adds up to 63 from one mortuary.  More people died due to this hurricane than any other in recent years.

“The final number, calculated by experts at George Washington University, was 1,000 beyond the upper estimates for Hurricane Katrina and almost exactly the toll from the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.” [3]

Please read that again: the same number of people died directly due to hurricane Maria as died in the 9/11 attack.

As I sat reading the personal stories of Maria, anger rose up and smashed into the grief.  How can an arrogant powerful man ignore the pain and suffering of US citizens? Puerto Rico is part of the United States and so it is part of the country that the president swore to serve.  How can he turn a disaster of these proportions into a personal vendetta against a political party?  Nearly 3,000 people died!

And those who lived had to survive not only the storm but its consequences. No hospitals. No roads. No water. No electricity. No outside assistance.

“Of 13,000 “cyclone events” since 1950, the Climate Impact Lab says, only five were more intense than Maria.” [4]

As previously mentioned, hurricane Maria directly killed more than hurricane Katrina (2005); with Maria’s direct toll at almost 3,000 Puerto Ricans as compared to Katrina’s official fatality rate of 1,833. By comparison, hurricane Sandy (2012) caused 233 deaths in nine different countries. And the recent hurricane Florence (2018) caused 48 direct and indirect deaths in four states.

When contact and electricity was re-established, they had to deal with the lies.  The same number of people died from hurricane Maria as 9/11, but Trump claimed 18 deaths. Yet, the people knew many more had died in their own communities. News reports claiming FEMA’s aid was delivered when it was not. Officials talked about damage in the mainland as if those areas had suffered as much as Puerto Rico.

They had enormous complications arising from lack of electricity, impassable roads, difficulties with sanitation, and no municipal water for months and months. What would have happened if Houston had been without electricity for seven months? If Washington DC had no water for months? Would Trump say that it wasn’t a “real catastrophe?” Would FEMA delay releasing funds to Kansas or Florida?

Puerto Rico is part of the United States. The people are US citizens.  After all of those  months of struggle, did they feel ignored by the United States?

I wouldn’t blame them if they did. They still have to live with the losses.

And the memories.

 

——–

[1]  “After Maria: Lessons from the 3,000 Deaths in Puerto Rico” by Karl Vick (Sept. 20, 2018) Time Magazine online at: http://time.com/longform/hurricane-maria-lessons/ (retrieved 9/29/2018).

[2] “Fact Check of the Day: Trump’s False Claims Rejecting Puerto Rico’s Death Toll From Hurricane Maria” Linda Qiu (Sept. 13, 2018) New York Times online at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/13/us/politics/trump-fact-check-hurricane.html (retrieved 9/29/2018).

[3]  “After Maria: Lessons from the 3,000 Deaths in Puerto Rico” by Karl Vick (Sept. 20, 2018) Time Magazine online at: http://time.com/longform/hurricane-maria-lessons/ (retrieved 9/29/2018).

[4]  “After Maria: Lessons from the 3,000 Deaths in Puerto Rico” by Karl Vick (Sept. 20, 2018) Time Magazine online at: http://time.com/longform/hurricane-maria-lessons/ (retrieved 9/29/2018).

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About Lillith ThreeFeathers

Lillith ThreeFeathers is a shamanic healer, author, medium, and priestess.
This entry was posted in Media Thoughts, Society and Civilization and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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