12 SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Don’t let Puerto Rico become a forgotten tragedy
A human tragedy of incomprehensible
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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. The 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. The 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. The same sense of urgency,
however, doesn’t seem to be there for
Puerto Rico, whose damage is much
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. The 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 overlooked.
Photo via Twitter/@BilldeBlasio
NYPD offi cers on the ground in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico