Stop whatever you’re doing right now.
There is a historically devastating humanitarian crisis that’s happening in Puerto Rico and no one seems to give a single fuck.
Maybe this needs context. ‘Humanitarian emergency’ is as defined by the Humanitarian Coalition:
“An event or series of events that represents a critical threat to the health, safety, security or wellbeing of a community or other large group of people, usually over a wide area.”
This is the threat that over 3 million Americans face, yet somehow we’ve prioritized sports, the definition of patriotism, and how much of an honor it is to visit the White House instead of real American lives.
A weak — and I stress, weak — defense to any negligence and ignorance to this tragedy is that it, unfortunately, comes at the heels of other recent natural disasters.
First, Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston. Then Mexico was hit by an 8.2 magnitude shock earthquake to the southern state of Chiapas. Then, as if we hadn’t had enough hurricanes, Hurricane Irma took power away from thousands in Florida. This doesn’t even include the Bangladesh floods or Sierra Leone mudslides.
While grave, are these excuses enough to justify why Congress and the White House haven’t administered relief funds to Puerto Rico, where millions remain without power after Hurricane Maria?
Puerto Rico is a US territory whose residents are American citizens. With so much talk about America and respecting those that protect it, why hasn’t the leader of our country, of these very citizens, said anything?
Trump tweeted about sports 17 times between Saturday and Monday morning but didn’t tweet once about Puerto Rico, where citizens have been without electricity, water, or means of communication since the Category 5 hurricane hit Wednesday.
I understand that digesting, caring, and sending monetary aid to everyone who’s hit across the world is unrealistic, but ignoring that it’s happening is unacceptable.
The majority of Americans don’t even realize Puerto Rico is part of America.
As of March 2017, only 47 percent of Americans believed that a person born to Puerto Rican parents was an American citizen, according to a Suffolk poll. By contrast, a whopping 30 percent believed that they would be a citizen of Puerto Rico, with the rest of the people surveyed either not knowing or claiming to be unsure.
But if anyone should know, it should be the man who is leading it. Which is why he garnered criticism.
President Trump, Sec. Mattis, and DOD should send the Navy, including the USNS Comfort, to Puerto Rico now. These are American citizens. https://t.co/J2FVg4II0n
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 24, 2017
One individual with influence and a platform is using his however, and that’s former Knick and current Oklahoma City City forward Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony, whose father was from Puerto Rico, started a YouCaring donation page Friday to help people whose island has been ravaged by Hurricane Maria.
“The entire island is dark. But even if we can’t hear it, there’s more than 3 million people down there calling out for help,” Anthony wrote for The Players’ Tribune.
“Imagine your house being powerless for just one hour. Just one day. Just one week. Imagine the young kids you have in your life — your son, your daughter, your nephew, your granddaughter — imagine them being scared and hungry for just one day.”
This is the sense of urgency we need — the same we saw in Houston.
At least 15 deaths have been reported so far as a result of Maria. That number is expected to grow as recovery efforts proceed. 3.4 million Americans, the entire population of Puerto Rico, are currently without power.
And Carlos Mercader, a spokesman for Puerto Rico’s governor, told PBS that in the hardest hit communities on the island, almost all of the houses have been destroyed. “80 or 90 percent of the homes are a complete disaster,” he said. “They are totally lost.”
And those are just some of the raw stats of just how apocalyptic it is.
Just because Trump is our President doesn’t mean you have to be anything like him. Do what you can: donate, spread the word or just care. But don’t forget your fellow Americans.
Some places to donate:
The Miami Foundation has two different funds. One for hurricane relief work, which “will support recovery and rebuilding work driven by organizations on the ground,” and one called U.S. Caribbean Strong Relief Fund