Puerto Rico Still Suffers After Hurricane Maria

In the past weeks, Dimond students have been well aware of all the natural disasters occuring in the United States.

The Dimond student body raised well over a thousand dollars to go towards Hurricane Harvey relief, and another group of students organized a clothing drive where all clothing would be resold to raise money for Hurricane Harvey relief.

However, while Dimond has raised a lot of funds for Hurricane Harvey relief, there have not been many efforts to help the developing issues in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria.

Hurricane Maria ravaged through Puerto Rico from Sept. 16 to Oct. 3. Puerto Rico has entered a state of crisis without funds to repair the island fully and the U.S. federal government has been aiding in relief for Puerto Rico.

Regarding help being sent to Puerto Rico from the U.S. federal government, Junior Abby Dodd said, “Puerto Rico is equally as important to give aid to compared to places in the continental U.S. We need to stand with Puerto Rico. They are under the United States federal jurisdiction, and they should be treated with the utmost care when it comes rebuilding and restoring after the hurricane.”

According to the New York Times, 83 percent of the island of Puerto Rico still had no power, 36 percent had no running water and 45 percent had no telecommunication services three weeks after the storm initially hit.

Students at Dimond seem to be very concerned with these issues that have been caused by Hurricane Maria. Junior Jayden Houston said, “I think that the federal government should continue to help Puerto Rico as much as possible. We should continue our aid efforts in Puerto Rico until they are no longer needed.”

Recently, President Donald Trump warned that the aid to Puerto Rico through the federal government will not remain forever. Through Twitter, Trump also stated that Puerto Rico is at fault for the continuing crisis.

News of Trump’s statements led citizens of Puerto Rico to believe that aid through the federal government to Puerto Rico was about to be removed.

Senior Erin Moody said, “I think it is disgusting that our president is so insecure about party opposition that he is threatening humanitarian aid.”

Houston agreed with Moody and said, “It seems clear that Trump tweets too fast and says things irrationally,”

Eventually, Trump stated, in an interview, that he does not think Puerto Rico is at fault for this crisis and that federal government aid to Puerto Rico will not end anytime soon.

However, some students believe that this statement may have just been another one of Trump’s attempts to backtrack on an earlier, controversial, statement. Moody said, “I think that his later statement that he will continue efforts to help Puerto Rico only comes from the clear disapproval from the public of his earlier sentiment.”

Puerto Rico has now entered a water crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Many residents are forced to collect water from a Dorado Groundwater Contamination Site listed under a 2016 Federal Superfund Program as a hazardous waste cleanup site.

Regarding the water crisis, Houston said, “We should be offering more help and ideas that Puerto Rico can then implement into their society to get out of this water crisis.”

Similarly to Houston, Dodd said, “I think that the federal government should be helping Puerto Rico in its water crisis.”

It is clear that there are students at Dimond who consider the problems in Puerto Rico to be important ones that need to be recognized, but it is yet to be known whether or not any relief fundraisers will be held at Dimond for Puerto Rico.

While Dimond is not directly helping current issues in Puerto Rico, white house chief of staff, John F. Kelly,  told Ricardo A. Roselló, the Puerto Rican governor, that no federal resources were being taken out of Puerto Rico anytime soon.

Furthermore, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stated through Twitter that they are also committed to continuing long term efforts in Puerto Rico.

Though it may take many years, Puerto Rico will eventually be repaired to an extent where residents no longer need support from aid efforts that are currently occurring, but until that point in time there will most likely be many more issues that come up in Puerto Rico regarding the effects of Hurricane Maria.