Facing months without electricity and running water, Americans in Puerto Rico need our donations too.

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Facing months without electricity and running water, Americans in Puerto Rico need our donations too.

Kimberly Wilson, Opinion Editor

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The 2017 Hurricane season has been one of the most destructive in recent years. In the U.S, Hurricane Harvey struck Texas and caused massive amounts of flooding and ruination, and Hurricane Irma caused a great amount of devastation to Florida just a few weeks after that. Donations were widely encouraged all throughout the media for victims of both hurricanes. The celebrity-packed relief benefit “Hand in Hand” telethon raised more than $44 million to help victims rebuild their lives. However, since additional natural disasters landed in other countries including Puerto rico, which is an unincorporated U.S territory and is home to millions of American citizens, coverage emphasizing the importance of donating seems to have dwindled.    

Natural disasters continue to cause devastation with hurricanes ravaging many countries in the Caribbean and several high magnitude earthquakes striking Mexico. Millions of lives in these places need rebuilding too, yet donations are not being as strongly promoted for these countries in the media. They are already at a socioeconomic disadvantage and do not have the amount of resources that we do to help themselves.

Puerto Rico is now in a state of extreme emergency. They were hit by not one but two hurricanes, Irma and Maria, the latter being said to have completely “destroyed” the Caribbean Island. Both storms have caused severe flooding leaving the entire island without power and running water. As the island’s power infrastructure has been severely damaged, it could be months before they are able to get regain electricity. Over 95 percent of the wireless cellular sites on the island are out of service, which has made it impossible for many mainland U.S citizens to contact their family members.

An article posted on Jezebel’s website states “The loss of power left residents hunting for gas canisters for cooking, collecting rainwater or steeling themselves mentally for the hardships to come in the tropical heat.” The article goes on to say some people (who can) are even thinking about leaving the Island, with Hector Llanos, a 78-year-old retired New York police officer planning to escape to the U.S. mainland to live temporarily declaring that “you cannot live here without power.”

The media continues to cover the situation on the island, and several celebrities with a relation to the Island, including Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez, have reached out to their fans asking for donations to aid in recovery. Lopez has also made a much needed donation of $1 million. More could still be done by the media to encourage the giving of donations. Especially when one considers that Puerto Rico’s socioeconomic state would suggest they need the donations even more than states in the U.S did. An article on Forbes’s website states that the country was almost $87 billion in debt as of 2013. Not to say that all the donations made to Texas and Florida were not much needed, but people of Puerto Rico are in fact American citizens. Imagine the panic the media would be in today if over 3 million mainland Americans were in the same sort of peril Puerto Ricans are currently facing.

The 2017 hurricane season has been a year of catastrophic natural disasters not just for the U.S but for many other countries. Therefore it would seem only right that the mainstream media should be doing all that can be done to aid in getting donations for those countries too, as they are in desperate need of help. Donations to Puerto Rico can be made through the Red Cross’s website and to ‘United for Puerto Rico’, a website founded by the county’s first lady, Beatriz Rossello. You can also donate to all other Caribbean countries affected by hurricane Irma and Maria as well as Mexico by visiting UNICEF’s website. Let us keep these countries in our thoughts and prayers and not forget that they too need all the help we can give.  


Websites for donations:

American Red Cross- https://www.redcross.org/donate/disaster-relief?scode=RSG00000E017&gclid=Cj0KCQjw9afOBRDWARIsAJW4nvz5txZv2Q4j2KkJVdTzh_Ji7wvyVnwAc-irkgiHUU5oFGd9FQvUkjoaAs2aEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CImXvPafw9YCFRRKXgodpNkHIQ

United for Puerto Rico- http://unidosporpuertorico.com/en/

UNICEF USA- https://www.unicefusa.org/donate/disaster-relief-help-protect-children-harm/32787?utm_campaign=2017_misc&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=20171122_Googleutm_content=BRAND&ms=cpc_dig_2017_misc_20171122_Google_BRAND&initialms=cpc_dig_2017_misc_20171122_Google_BRAND

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