As #TakeTheKnee content floods news feeds, we are reminded of what it means to be patriotic. But arguably one of the most unpatriotic things we can do is ignore the fact that Puerto Rico is in apocalyptic-level shambles.
While 45 finally made his comments after nearly a week of being silent about Hurricane Maria’s impact on the U.S. commonwealth, he placed blame instead of offering assistance. While he immediately offered help to Texas after Irma, the island that is home to 3.4 million American citizens is being neglected.
Here are things that must be known about Puerto Rico’s current state.
1 Lack of Media Coverage
As we already mentioned, with the increased coverage of the NFL there has been little coverage since on Puerto Rico’s current status. ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation, and Fox’s Fox News Sunday all failed to mention the destruction that Puerto Ricans are currently facing on the island. More insulting: Media outlets have been using La Perla—an impovershed shanty town adjacent to Old San Juan that has now been completely destroyed—and its involvement in the “Despacito” music video as headline clickbait.
According to Puerto Rico’s secretary of Department of Agriculture, the island has suffered a loss of about 80 percent of crop value, making it one of the costliest storms to hit the island’s agriculture industry. Across the island, the hurricane took out entire plantations, dairy barns, and industrial chicken coops. This has been one of Puerto Rico’s primary sources of economic for more than 400 years and some trees will take as long as 10 years to grow back to full maturity.
3 Cell Lines Down
People have been using Facebook and Twitter to find out about the status of their families. Due to island-wide power outages, there are extremely limited lines of communication, with 95 percent the island’s cell lines out of service. While there are officials’ offices that concerned family members can contact for more help, there are millions of people tying up lines and making it more difficult to get in contact with loved ones.
4 Guajataca Dam Rupture
About 70,000 people live downstream from the Guajataca Dam in the northwestern part of the island. Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello advised citizens to leave the area as soon as possible on Saturday due to the damage imposed by Hurricane Maria. The National Weather Service on Friday called the dam’s break “imminent” and announced that buses were evacuating locals.
5 Debt Crisis
As Trump pointed it out in his tweets, Puerto Rico is going through a massive debt crisis. However, what he (and most U.S. politicians) fail to acknowledge is that the majority of this is the mainland’s fault. Activists and elected officials are now calling to put a hold on the debt crisis.
6 Past Presidents are Helping…While Our President Complains
While there’s no help from 45 (shocker), Puerto Ricans are receiving aid from past presidents. The One America Appeal is a joint effort on the parts of former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. The campaign allows donors to contribute funds to people in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.