26 THE QUEENS COURIER • SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
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JOSHUA A. SCHNEPS
KATRINA MEDOFF, ANTHONY GIUDICE, ANGELA MATUA
CLIFF KASDEN, SAMANTHA SOHMER, ELIZABETH ALONI
JOSHUA A. SCHNEPS
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Don’t let Puerto Rico
become a forgotten tragedy
A human tragedy of incomprehensible proportions is unfolding in Puerto
Rico in the days since Hurricane Maria delivered a direct blow to the island.
Puerto Rico’s population of 3.2 million is roughly equal to that of
Connecticut. Th e commonwealth is considered American territory, and
its population count as American citizens. Yet the federal government’s
response to Hurricane Maria has been horribly unequal to the eff ort made
just weeks ago when Hurricane Harvey fl ooded much of southeastern Texas
and Hurricane Irma ravaged Florida.
New York, as always, is stepping up to the occasion, as the state and city
governments — along with a litany of charities and nonprofi t organizations
— are scrambling to bring much-needed supplies and relief to Puerto Rico.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who is
Puerto Rican, toured the devastated island this past weekend while delivering
essential items to help in the recovery.
Make no mistake, however, that the road to recovery for Puerto Rico will
be long. Basic infrastructure essential to human life has been wiped out. Th e
power grid was obliterated; it will take months for it to be rebuilt. Cellphone
service is severely limited. Water supplies are running low; water service is
completely gone in some areas. One dam, in particular, is damaged to the
brink of being breached, creating a situation for even greater tragedy.
Puerto Rico has experienced something beyond the worst-case scenario of
a major hurricane.
Both Congress and the president were quick to act just weeks ago to help
the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Th e same sense of urgency, however,
doesn’t seem to be there for Puerto Rico, whose damage is much more
FEMA said that there are 10,000 federal employees on the ground to assist
in the recovery. Airplanes and ships with supplies are also on the way. Th e
president signed a disaster declaration and pledged to visit the commonwealth,
but he didn’t give a date of when that visit would take place. Even so,
the great devastation in Puerto Rico requires that the federal government’s
response be signifi cantly stepped up to save as many lives as possible.
We urge our readers to not only donate what they can to reputable charities
assisting Puerto Rico such as United for Puerto Rico (unicosporpuertorico.
com), but we also ask them to contact their local member of Congress
and their senators urging them not to allow the tragedy in Puerto Rico to be
STORY: Major bus crash in Flushing injures at least 17 people
SUMMARY: Two buses collided in downtown Flushing last week,
sending at least 17 people to the hospital.
REACH: 29,303 people (as of 9/25/17)