If the situation in Puerto Rico seems dire, that’s because it is. People on the island will face seemingly insurmountable problems in nearly every aspect of their lives for months to come and not just because of Hurricanes Irma and Maria that devastated the country earlier this month. Though food insecurity, poor health care and resource-starved public transit all predate the hurricane, the result of both damaging US policy and deepening financial crisis, these problems dramatically complicate recovery.
The United States had already seen its share of disasters, from back-to-back hurricanes that devastated Texas, Florida and the US Virgin Islands to roaring wildfires in the West.
Then, after battering the rest of the Caribbean, Hurricane Maria left the island of Puerto Rico facing a humanitarian crisis. About a dozen people died in the Sept. 21 storm and the island was plunged into darkness.
Now, some 3.4 million Puerto Ricans – which is to say, 3.4 million American citizens – are confronting life without electricity, gas, cellular service and, in many cases, a home.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) September 21, 2017
After a decade of fiscal decline and a May 2017 bankruptcy, Puerto Rico has become exceptionally vulnerable to disasters like Maria. As both a policy analyst and the daughter of Puerto Rican …read more