No, We Aren’t Doing Enough For Puerto Rico, Mr. President….

Oct 4, 2017

By   Debra Schrishuhn and Mike Fox, for Donna, Mike H, Judy, Dan, Janis, Amos, Dr. Bill, Bryan, and Kim, your PDA National Team

Fellow Citizens In Puerto Rico Need More Help!
Send An Email/Call Congress

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday, Sept. 20, two weeks after Hurricane Irma badly damaged the island. President Trump spent the weekend golfing.

The White House immediately waived the Jones Act for Texas and Florida ports after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, letting foreign vessels bring supplies and aid to affected areas. Facing prolonged criticism, the White House authorized a 10-day waiver to the Jones Act on Sept 28 (Day 8) for Puerto Rico. The waiver expires October 7.

Within days of Hurricane Harvey, 31,000 federal staffers and soldiers were deployed throughout the Houston area. One week after Hurricane Irma, 3,200 FEMA staffers and 13,000 National Guard soldiers were helping southwest Florida recover. On Sept. 30 (Day 10), the President tweeted that 10,000 federal workers were in Puerto Rico. Over 90 percent of the island outside the capital San Juan was still without any power, 27 of 78 counties remained without cell phone service, and the governor had to send runners to more than two dozen interior towns and villages inaccessible by road.

Tuesday, Day 13: The President visited Puerto Rico, lauded federal response and apparent lack of lost lives, comparing the disaster favorably to “a real catastrophe like [Hurricane] Katrina.” He chided Puerto Rico for throwing “our budget out of whack.”

Let’s review—as of Day 13, FEMA has delivered over 1 million meals to the 3.4 million citizens of Puerto Rico, but it’s not rocket science to realize that 1 meal for every 3-4 people over a period of two weeks is not life sustaining. Over half the island’s population still does not have access to clean drinking water, and only 65 percent of grocery stores are open with limited amounts of food. One hospital out of 69 on the island is fully operational, the majority have some capacity (although running out of fuel, food, and supplies), and the 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, just arrived. FEMA has yet to authorize full disaster relief for Puerto Rico. The President could fast-track this authorization, but has not yet done so.

One staffer at the Puerto Rico Delegate’s office pleaded, “Keep calling and writing members of Congress. Don’t let them forget about us.”

What can we do? Email your House Rep and Senator, then follow up with a phone call.  (House numbersSenate numbers.  And let us know how the call goes).  Demand full disaster relief authorization from FEMA, extension of the Jones Act waiver, and debt forgiveness for Puerto Rico.

Thank you so much for your help.  Our fellow citizens desperately need it.

In solidarity,

Debra Schrishuhn and Mike Fox, for Donna, Mike H, Judy, Dan, Janis, Amos, Dr. Bill, Bryan, and Kim, your PDA National Team