America’s hesitation with aiding its citizens


Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

The mountain town of Juyaya, Puerto Rico, is one of the most remote on the island, and help was slow to arrive due to roads blocked by landslides and fallen trees. This is the road from Ciales to Jayuya.

Jonathan Smith, Staff Writer

Since Hurricane Katrina, many Americans have questioned the loyalty of the government. It’s been reported by Emily Atkin of “The New Republic,” that in 2017, Hurricane Katrina relief estimated somewhere around $160 billion. Hurricane Maria between $40 to $80 billion, $65 to $100 billion for Harvey. But, where is this money going? There’s no doubt that a lot of the communities that have been hit have been densely populated by lower-income families, families without homeowners insurance and a vast array of other suppressing circumstances. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) which was established in 1978 by the United States Department of Homeland Security has helped many communities and families in ways that would have seemed impossible without it, leaving families somewhat optimistic for the future.

On March 7, FEMA released a statement on their official website that it’s been approved to assist Puerto Rico with $1.1 billion to help restore households and businesses. According to an article on Mother Jones, Governor Ricardo Rossello implied that at minimum it would cost $46 billion to rebuild damaged and leveled homes, $30 billion to repair infrastructure, and $17.9 billion for long-term recovery and support. With all of that, what about the well-being of the Islanders that call Puerto Rico home? Over 60% of Puerto Rico is still without power since the hurricane made landfall back in September. It’s been reported according to an article on Mother Jones website that Puerto Rico consumes a little over 10% of pharmaceutical drugs  but has no access to these basic necessities due to critical infrastructure problems caused by flooding, loss of power and damaged roadways. Water, perishable foods and hygiene products are also on the list of things that have become scarce on the island.

It’s a sad truth to face that America is more concerned with how its citizens can contribute to its growing wealth, while many of Americans are literally dying everyday due to a lack of compassion and action. Flint, Michigan as many of you know, has not had clean water since 2014. Meanwhile, Nestle pays as little as $200 annually to bottle their water in a facility they own two hours North of Flint. Jessica Glenzain of Detroit Michigan says that “the beverage giant pumps almost 100,000 times what an average Michigan resident uses into plastic bottles”, while some citizens of Flint are being charged up to $200 in utility bills for water they cannot use.

In just four years, there have been substantial cases filed against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to the lack of research and aid being brought to the community where many residents, including children, are being poisoned and passively looked over. There needs to be a change in the climate of our country, with everything Americans have endured over the decades, this is unacceptable. Constitutionally, “We The People”, seems to not apply to everyone. There needs to be more government assistance, instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to bomb and murder families, including children in other countries, they’re hesitant to assist and take action here at home. Let this be a message to the citizens of the United States of America — stop turning the other cheek to problems that aren’t in your postal code. The same passion that’s being put into the “Me Too” marches, the “Black Lives Matter” protests and every other social injustice issues, needs to be shared to help our brothers and sisters of suffering circumstances. Donations, physical support and community action can be found online.