On Sept. 20, Puerto Rico was struck by Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 hurricane. The storm, which produced winds at 150 mph, brought several feet of rain to the area and devastated the land. The island still has no power, except for that which is provided via generators.
“Make no mistake — this is a humanitarian disaster involving 3.4 million US citizens,” Ricardo Rosello, the governor of Puerto Rico, said in an interview on Monday, according to an article by Vox. The area affected sits on United States property.
Food is scarce, cell phone service is spotty and many residents of the island have been cut off from everything for nearly two weeks. Hospitals are being powered as they are higher priority, but other than that, many buildings are left in the dark. It is predicted on Vox that the power will not return to many areas for a few months.
With the power outages and cell phone tower outages, weather services are also down, meaning that the weather is almost impossible to forecast.
President Donald Trump has offered his support for the relief efforts in Puerto Rico, adding in a press conference that, “It’s been total devastation, but I think it’s going really well, considering.” “The loss of life, it’s always tragic, but it’s been incredible. The results that we’ve had with respect to the loss of life. People can’t believe how successful that has been, relatively speaking.”
Trump spoke at the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington regarding relief and rescue efforts. “We will not rest, however, until the people of Puerto Rico are safe. These are great people. We want them to be safe and sound and secure, and we will be there every day until that happens.” He also offered his thoughts and prayers to the residents on the island.
Trump has told reporters that he will travel to Puerto Rico on Oct. 3, as that is the earliest that he can make it. He also admits that he does not want to get in the way of relief efforts, and therefore would like to wait it out. He has received criticism for not being as proactive as a president should be during times of natural disaster, and has fought back.
“This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water. We’re closely coordinated with the territorial and local governments, which are totally and unfortunately unable to handle this catastrophic crisis on their own, just totally unable to. The police and truck drivers are very substantially gone, they’re taking care of their families and largely unable to get involved, largely unable to help,” he said at the Manufacturers conference.
Those who would like to help are urged to reach out to the American Red Cross.