Puerto Rico, an island located in the northeast Caribbean Sea, is experiencing a massive humanitarian crisis that the island has never experienced before. A population of 3.4 million people are experiencing: shortages of food, floods, devastation of the land, major loss of electricity and a mass exodus taking place via flights out of the country in search for relief in the US. All this and more triggered by Hurricane Maria that came plummeted it’s way over the island 6 am, September 20, 2017.
Before making land fall in Puerto Rico, Maria to weaken to a high-end Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph. This made Maria the strongest to hit the territory since hurricane San Felipe in 1928.
We have been hearing and reading many worse case hurricanes verbiage during the 2017 hurricane season. Could the eclipse that took place August 21, 2017 have been an ominous precedent? If you are of the same mindset as I am, you’re thinking, Yes!
(More on that on another post)
What were the prior conditions of the Island which caused it to lose its first three legs to being with? Let me start with the “last leg” it just lost.
“Puerto Rico’s public debt has ballooned because of a failing economy and an inefficient government that has spent more than it has taken in.” The New York Times
The government is facing a debt crisis that has now reached over $70 billion since early 2017. With 45% poverty rate and 12.4% unemployment, the island was in over it’s head to pull it’s self up out of this decade long recession. Since 2015, the government has missed payments on several debts and bonds. All this with the Governor on the brink of dealing with a government shutdown and failure to fund the managed health care system.
Other conditions: The rate of petty crime is low in Puerto Rico. However, law enforcement are ever occupied with the 80% of homicides in Puerto Rico which are drug related. The Medicare and Medicaid programs have been several underfunded and the fact that Puerto Ricans pay no income taxes, they cannot take part in Obamacare, like mainland United States. Skilled Physicians have taken their services to the United States for better work opportunists leaving the island’s population with long waits for routine and emergency healthcare services.
Hurricane Maria came with no mercy and left with no sympathy in Puerto Rico.
Long lines at the gas station, lack of clean water and the island with no power, save back up generators at few established business and hospital, FEMA can provide up to 90% of its repair cost. That in itself is a tedious process, “months”, government official have stated.
In the mean time what can you and I do? Shall we go on taking in the news of devastation with our hands planted to the side of our face in disbelief? Of course not!
Here’s my 3 top suggestions:
- Lift up Puerto Rico in prayer. Bring them up in supplications as if it is your own land that your two feet are planted on right now.
- Get into a conversation with a Puerto Rican descendant, if you know any. Ask them how you can help.
You live out in the boondocks you say?
3. Support a trusted online charity or ministry that is sending supplies and/or aid workers to the island of Puerto Rico.
We will be doing this to “The least of these” as Christ said.