On the heels of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction in Texas, Hurricane Irma’s walloping of Florida, and the series of devastating earthquakes in Mexico, Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc in the Caribbean last week, slamming into Puerto Rico as a deadly category 5 storm. Already hindered by outdated infrastructure and a weakened economy, the damage caused by Maria is being called “apocalyptic,” and officials warn the recovery effort will last for years to come.
Meteorologists and those on the ground have said the winds brought on by Maria in the commonwealth last Wednesday were worse than the ones Florida faced during Irma. Adding insult to injury, the rains on some parts of the island were said to rival those Harvey dumped on Houston. The overwhelming rain and wind damaged the Guajataca Dam, jeopardizing the lives and remaining structures in the surrounding areas, while nearly all of the island remains without electricity. Reports indicate that 95 percent of the cellular towers are without power, meaning those who survived the storm have been unable to get in touch with loved ones.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced he would visit Puerto Rico next week to survey the damage. During a meeting with the House Ways and Means Committee regarding tax reform, the president said the island was “hit as hard as you can hit” and “literally destroyed” by the storm—but relief supplies from federal authorities are arriving “on an hourly basis.” His remarks followed pleas from Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello for greater assistance from the United States government. He warned that without “tangible” legislation that “actually answers to our need right now,” there will be a “massive exodus” from the island to the U.S. mainland.
While the media continues to obsess over which NFL players chose to sit out the singing of the National Anthem over the weekend, our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico are just beginning what will undoubtedly be a long and tedious recovery effort. Below are a few images that shed some light on the complete and utter devastation Hurricane Maria left in its wake:
This picture breaks my heart! I will be donating to Puerto Rico and help them get the food & water they desperately need. Please donate! pic.twitter.com/l3kOXifa1I
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) September 26, 2017
They are American citizens! pic.twitter.com/uARIFYWSAP
— Jamie #Resistance ❄️ (@JCTheResistance) September 26, 2017
— poetic_etcetera (@poetic_etcetera) September 26, 2017
— Emoluments Clause (@Emolclause) September 25, 2017
— COMMON (@common) September 22, 2017
— COMMON (@common) September 25, 2017
— Photo Geo ? (@PhotoTimeGeo) September 21, 2017
While we are called to help all those in need, a photo of an American flag hanging in Puerto Rico amidst the rubble serves as a poignant reminder that those suffering are not just fellow human beings but fellow Americans.
Had to stop and snap this photo today as we drove through Puerto Rico. pic.twitter.com/HS10iWsbOh
— Michael Pruitt, PIO (@Michael_Pruitt1) September 26, 2017