Update On Puerto Rico – Weekend Edition

By Susan Kuebler

In the latest twist in the ongoing tragedy that has become Puerto Rico, on Friday night CNN News reported that officials are distributing drinking water to residents from a federally designated Superfund site.  For those who might be unfamiliar with what a Superfund site it, these are sites whose water has been so contaminated by deadly chemicals that they are deemed dangerous to drink.  However, CNN confirmed this report with Superfund documents and interviews with federal and state officials.

Three weeks following the hurricane and only 37 percent of the residents have to access to clean drinking water, per FEMA.  The CNN report shows that residents are so desperate for water they don’t even care at this point whether the water is contaminated or not.

Nearly 15 percent of Puerto Ricans now have electricity, but 44 of the hospitals on the island are still being powered by generators. Some estimates are that it will be at least until December before full electrical service can be restored to Puerto Rico.

But there is a slight ray of hope for our fellow citizens.  Again, according to FEMA, 30 states have responded to 91 requests for aid in Puerto Rico and 18 states are supporting 42 requests for mutual aid in the Virgin Islands.  As always, during a tragedy, Americans open their hearts and their pocketbooks for fellow Americans, as well as other people around the world who need our help.

The Puerto Rican authorities also report that 100 percent of their ports are now open.  However, this is not necessarily good news. In a move of incomprehensible callousness, the Trump administration has allowed the waiver on the Jones Act to lapse.  This means that any goods or emergency supplies coming into Puerto Rico from ships other than those that are American-built and staffed, will cost the citizens much more money – at a time when money is short and supplies are so desperately needed.  Senator John McCain has been fighting a long time to give Puerto Rico a permanent waiver from the restrictions of the Jones Act, but don’t expect Donald Trump to be responsive to anyone who has defied him, as McCain has done in the Senate.  And to hell with the needs of the people of Puerto Rico.

But throwing around statistics and numbers overshadows one important fact.  These are real people we are talking about.  People who are without food.  People who are without medicine or medical care.  People who are so desperate they are willing to drink and bathe in contaminated water.

And with only slightly more than 25 percent of cell phone antennas working, it is extremely difficult for people in the mainland to reach loved ones on the island to learn if they even survived the hurricane.  The official death toll has now risen to 45, but it is expected to go much, much higher as isolated areas are reached.

Trump does not want Hurricane Maria to become “his” Hurricane Katrina even though experienced professionals on the ground have stated that the response to Maria is far worse than that to Katrina.  Despite the logistical difficulties, there is no excuse for the most powerful country in the world to have responded as poorly as it has done.  Yet, if you listen to Donald Trump, everything is great.

The quote above from Friday shows that Trump is either deliberately lying, or woefully misinformed, or perhaps is indeed a moron.

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”. Julian of Norwich.

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