aside A Must Read, Washington Post’s 12/14/17 Update On Puerto Rico

“The negligence of the US government towards helping American citizens living in Puerto Rico in their hour of need after the island had been left in ruins after 2 major hurricane storms in 2017, will be remembered as the republican lawmakers who handed the super rich a gift of trillions of dollars in tax cuts while there are American citizens left to suffer because of lack of funds and adequate support. ”

“Most of the White Evangelicals who have supported this president and his republican sycophants in the White House and the US Congress and who bear witness to this travesty, do not demonstrate the good fruits of Christian compassion and action.”

“This story should give all of us the impetus to fight back for the soul of our US democracy by ousting these folks from elected offices who would allow for this shameful negligence.”

The hurricane’s rains triggered bridge collapses in rural barrios of Utuado, leaving residents to fend for themselves.

Here is the rest of the story…

On December 14, 3017,  Arelis R. Hernández, Whitney Leaming and Zoeann Murphy of the Washington Post penned the following “must read” report, “SinLuz, Life Without Power.” (A link to the entire report is footnoted below.)

Excerpts:

“Puerto Rico’s apagón, or “super blackout,” is the longest and largest major power outage in modern U.S. history. Without electricity, there is no reliable source of clean water. School is out, indefinitely. Health care is fraught. Small businesses are faltering. The tasks of daily life are both exhausting and dangerous. There is nothing to do but wait, and no one can say when the lights will come back on.”

“Two powerful hurricanes devastated Puerto Rico in September. They created a humanitarian crisis for the island’s 3.4 million U.S. citizens that has persisted for three months. Power restoration is at a crawl because the grid collapsed, the utility is bankrupt and the logistics are daunting: Crews and supplies have to come from the mainland, then make their way into rugged interior areas like Utuado. Many roads remain impassable, and hundreds are still isolated.”

“The deluge of rain created mudslides that toppled transmission lines, broke water pipes and pushed homes down hills. The family that lived in this house escaped just in time. The green lushness has returned to the mountains, though it is broken by huge gashes of mud.”

Marta Lafontaine Elementary school in Utuado, Puerto Rico.

“Afraid that the slope supporting her house would collapse into the lake below, Maria Ortiz Viruet moved two doors away, to her mother’s house. She is a veteran public school teacher who has weathered storms of all kinds. But nothing prepared her for this darkness.”

“Like most teachers across the island, Maria reports to work each day at an empty school.”

“No power and no water means no school for many of the territory’s more than 1,000 schools — and total disruption to the lives of tens of thousands of children. They have lost their daily routine of classes, friends and meals.”

“Most have not been to school at all this fall. With each passing day, educators realize they are waiting for students who may never come back.”

“Maria can’t get used to the emptiness.”

“Instead of classwork, children get lessons in catching mountain water to do the wash. On the mainland, school districts in Florida, Texas, New York and New England have absorbed thousands of students who don’t want to fall behind.”

“But those who remain — including Maria’s son, Jesús, who is 18 — don’t know what will happen next.”

“Jesus Manuel Meiia Ortiz, son of Maria words: I really need my school. It’s my last year. I believe that High School is important.”

“The buzzing of fuel-powered generators is inescapable. Their din is the new background noise of the night, the motors roaring to life all across the island at dusk.”

“Expensive to buy and fill, smelly and dangerous, the machines were never intended to be a substitute for public electricity.”

“A household can limp along on a generator, but it has been perilous for Puerto Rico’s elderly and infirm to rely on the machines for months on end.”

“Many of them need power just to breathe. Since the storm, there has been a surge of deaths from pneumonia, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and breathing disorders compared with the same period in 2016. The toll could rise over 1,000, some estimate.”

“All the advances of modern medicine are useless without electricity. How to run oxygen machines and nebulizer treatments? How to sterilize equipment and refrigerate medicine?”

“Thousands of the chronically sick live at home and are too poor or too frail to keep a generator filled and running. The fumes can trigger more breathing problems. It falls to family members and community health workers to improvise and soldier on.”

Aixa Jiménez (left) talks with Teresa Irizarry about her mother, Margarita.

“Aixa Jiménez, a home hospice nurse, spends more time caring for her patients, including Margarita, 94, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Helping Margarita live with dignity and keeping her clean and comfortable are more complicated since the hurricane hit.”

“The Spanish verb “to struggle” is bregar, but it means much more on this island.”

“When Puerto Ricans use this word, as they do constantly post-Maria, they are describing gritty determination. It’s the deeply cultural will to not just survive scarcity and hardship but also to use creativity and humor to thrive within it. On busted power poles and crumbling overpasses are Puerto Rico’s flag and this scrawled message: “Yo no me quito,” or “I won’t give up.”

“That spirit has propelled people to devise river crossings where bridges are washed out. Neighbors have formed brigades to clear roads with machetes and run cables from a single generator to light several homes.”

Sunset brings near total darkness to Yabucoa as dusk descends.

“But no amount of community resourcefulness can string electric line and rebuild highways. It took nearly two weeks for the territorial government and U.S. agencies to deliver relief to the hardest-hit communities. Politics and bureaucratic squabbles continue to bog down recovery.”

“While they wait on government, Puerto Ricans are demonstrating what they mean by bregar.”

Here’s the link to the entire report: Life Without Power – Washington Post

Advertisements

18 comments

  1. I have to wonder if this situation would be allowed to continue if it were happening on the mainland, especially in one of the “red” states? I think not. The inadequate support our federal government has provided is unconscionable. Thank you for sharing this Gronda. Hugs!

    • Dear Jill,

      This injustice being perpetrated is an example of what I do not want to see from our US government as this shames and sickens all of us who are a part of this country.

      We will not let Puerto Rico be forgotten and those who chose to turn a blind eye to this situation wiii not be forgotten either.

      Thanks a million for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

  2. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    We must not forget the people of Puerto Rico and the terrible conditions that remain, even some four months after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Please take a moment to read this important update by our friend Gronda. Thank you, Gronda, for this sad, but important post.

  3. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    THIS I WILL NEVER FORGET … the ‘master’ doesn’t care about its colony!! This will always be in my heart!!
    “The negligence of the US government towards helping American citizens living in Puerto Rico in their hour of need after the island had been left in ruins after 2 major hurricane storms in 2017, will be remembered as the republican lawmakers who handed the super rich a gift of trillions of dollars in tax cuts while there are American citizens left to suffer because of lack of funds and adequate support. ”

  4. Dear Horty,

    This will be a permanent stain on all of our consciences as we have watched our US government officials callously turn their backs on our fellow American citizens who are living in dire need in Puerto Rico.

    Payback is a b—— and their day of reckoning is coming.

    Thanks a million as always for all of your support and for this reblog.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Dear Suze,

      I am filled with tears every time I think about how our fellow Americans are suffering because of the US government’s abusive, callous neglect.

      I compare this to a parent leaving their children alone without enough food, monies, electrical power, etc. This parent would be thrown in jail. But somehow this is okay if our government acts accordingly.

      Thanks a million times over for tour support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

  5. This is a disgrace considering time and again we hear the U.S. military ‘Never leaves a man behind’ well this is the equivalent of leaving a man behind. Everyone should be on at their representative day in day out to ensure that American citizens are not treated like this. Even the Republican voters should not be happy about this. If it happens there it can happen where they are too.
    Hugs

    • Dear David Prosser,

      I couldn’t agree more.

      I plan to tweet this post to every republican in the US Congress starting on January 1, 2017. I also plan to question how most of the White Evangelical pro-lifers don’t seem to give a damn about about the well-being of their fellow American citizens.

      Could it be that these so called pro-lifers don’t care about the lives of those who are not as White as they are?

      You would think that anyone who has a human pulse with a heart that beats would find this neglect of Puerto Rico and our fellow Americans to be beyond reprehensible.

      I want to tar and feather those republican lawmakers who did nothing to remedy this negligence.

      Hugs, Gronda

  6. There’s that pie to be cut into slices and parcelled out. Trillions to the super rich, and the war makers. What does that leave? In the days of the Roman Empire’s implosion, first it was the farthest, outlying colonies that were abandoned. Mercenaries had to be hired and paid to protect Rome where the partying was going on, with its orgies and its bloody gladiator games. This is a sequel, not an original story. It will seem callous, but I will say this about Puerto Ricans in their survivalist mode: soon the entire planet will be experiencing the same. As it stands, this civilization cannot hold, it must implode. It may be then that the best chance of survival will be where people have already been tested; where the power grids and infrastructures have failed and they have been forced to return to basics; to nature, for survival. If you have it all, you can lose it all. If you have nothing, what’s to lose? Perhaps these people will realize they’d be better off being independent.

    • Dear Sha’Tara,

      You paint a pretty bleak picture and you may very well be right. But in the meantime, I am believing that each of us are here to make life a little better for others whenever we can, using the gifts we possess. I want my fellow Americans in Puerto Rico to have the dignity of knowing that people care and are willing to stand with them in their hour of need.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Of course, that goes without saying, so then, let “Americans” unilaterally stand up for Puerto Rico and, ignoring the morass in Washington, send the help needed. Why don’t I see that happening? Here’s tongue-in-cheek why not: imagine an encounter between Archie and Meathead. “Arch, don’t you believe we should be helping out Puerto Rico in their time of need?” “C’mon Meathead, them people aren’t even white. Besides, if they really need help, they can get it anytime they want.” “Where from Arch. Russia?” “NOOO, Meathead, from God there, from God, buddy. That’s what God’s for.” Then just imagine that look of utter contentment at having won another outstanding argument. Now imagine an entire Congress packed solid with Archie Bunkers’. That’s not so hard to imagine…

        • Dear Sha’Tara,

          No, your vision is not very hard to believe. It is a sad commentary but one with truth.

          I want to wish you and yours a wonderful Happy New Year in 2018. Thanks a million for being a part of my blogging family.

          Hugs, Gronda

  7. Gronda, it did not take a genius to see the President did not give as much wait to helping PR as he did with Texas and Florida. From where I sit, his first concern on anything he does is “how will it look or affect me?” Dealing with disasters requires many months and years of planning – he does not have the patience or interest in anything that takes that long. Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      Your analysis is spot on. The president will not give the woes of Puerto Rico a second thought because what happens to our American brothers and sisters on this island is of no concern to his base, especially that segment which consists of the 81% of White Evangelicals who voted for him.

      That is the whole story in a nutshell.

      Hugs, Gronda

Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s