Crisis In Puerto Rico/US Virgin Islands…And how to help

Carter Fournier, Staff Writer

The US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are in the middle of a disaster after being devastated by hurricane Maria. Maria has killed at least 16 people in Puerto Rico and three in the Virgin Islands. The hurricane has decimated the Puerto Rican Rainforest, which is one of only two rainforests in the US. More than half Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million people are without running water. Most if not all the island has no electricity or cellphone service. Food, gas, water, and other necessities are running low and the road system is crippled.

On Tuesday Oct-2nd President Donald Trump arrived in Puerto Rico after facing criticism from many related to his comments saying that Puerto Ricans are not doing enough to help their own situation, as well as criticism aimed at the mayor of San Juan, and he has said over the past week or so.

Right now there are nearly 10 thousands government workers and Troops either in or heading to the territory. Many officials in Puerto Rico say the feds have helped but it’s not enough. The situation has remained terrible for the residents of Puerto Rico as well as the US Virgin Islands. It’s important to know that these places are US territories and the people there are US citizens but are not allowed to vote in US elections because of where they live. Most Puerto Ricans do not have to pay US federal personal income tax but do pay most other federal taxes as well as commonwealth taxes to support the Puerto Rican government. There has been much controversy in the past over the issue of taxation and representation/voting rights for our US territories like Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and others.

Those things should be put aside for now until people are safe. The Americans affected by hurricane Maria need help. If you would like to donate there is the Americares nonprofit that has also been helping in Florida and Texas after the devastating hurricanes in those places as well. The organization has a great track record and has been rated 4/4 by charity for their accountability and transparency. More than 98% of your donation go to helping victims by providing food, water, and aid.