Excerpts from flyer of GNH Peace Council, Jan. 24, 2020
Twenty-eight months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the federal government continues in its failure to adequately take care of the island’s needs. The latest indignity to residents who have yet to fully recover from damages caused by the hurricanes and now the earthquakes is the government’s continued pathetic responses and a sudden cut to food stamp benefits. Congressional neglect and animus from the administration are responsible for hardships that would never be tolerated if the American citizens being harmed lived on the mainland and not in a U.S. territory that lacks voting representation in Washington.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined calls on Jan. 9, 2020, for the Trump administration to release $18 billion in disaster aid to the island more than two years after the money was appropriated.
The funds were meant to go to the U.S. territory after Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused nearly $150 billion in damages to Puerto Rico. Maria killed nearly 3,000 people and left 1.5 million Puerto Ricans without power, including hundreds whose electricity wasn’t restored for nearly a year. On Jan. 7, 2020, about two-thirds of the island once again had no power and hundreds of thousands of people were without running water following back-to-back earthquakes and aftershocks.
“We call upon the White House to stop its unlawful withholding of funds from Puerto Rico,” Pelosi said at a press conference on Jan. 9, “There are needs that need to be met, there has been a disaster designated, but the ongoing withholding of funds appropriated by Congress to Puerto Rico is illegal.”
“Puerto Rico has been through too much already. We should forgive their debt, make them a state and rebuild in earnest,” presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted in one of the bolder responses from the candidates.
Meanwhile, thousands of Puerto Rican families remain in makeshift dwellings following these recent quakes. firstname.lastname@example.org.