More trouble is coming for Puerto Rican residents displaced from their homes due to Hurricane Maria. On September 14, residents in FEMA sponsored housing within the US will need to relocate, according to a district judges’ ruling. These displaced residents have been living in this type of housing for nearly 10 months. There may be many who are encountering difficulties obtaining a new home. Perhaps they have very little money, and living in FEMA housing is the only thing that’s keeping them afloat emotionally. Perhaps they were relying on relatives or other connections to provide them with other housing, and opportunities keep falling through the cracks.
I believe that if our current presidential administration was more sympathetic towards Puerto Rico’s plight, these residents would’ve been treated more fairly. The continued mocking our president is giving Puerto Rico is unforgivable, especially since the official death toll is much higher than originally reported. When the reports on the loss of life originally came out, I always held suspicion. The fact that only 64 people lost their lives due to a powerful storm was a bit hard to believe. Now that the number is officially updated, it’s heartbreaking. And the President laying blame on Puerto Rico for its high loss of life is unbelievable. We need to realize, once again, that human lives must be valued, regardless of what country they are from. The fact that we still need to be reminded of this fact in 2018 is so shameful.
My heart continues to break for Puerto Rico. A report came out this week that the death toll from Hurricane Maria is much higher than originally reported. It didn’t come as a surprise to me, since a storm of that magnitude would make a huge impact. What saddens me is the lack of attention Puerto Rico is currently receiving. There are thousands of residents still suffering from lack of power, and our government pays minimal attention.
While this saddening report come to the surface, I continue to speak with my close friend from Puerto Rico about her attending my wedding next year. She is very excited about the event, and is doing whatever possible to attend next summer. We go back and forth from taking about my upcoming wedding to reflecting on our high school days. We could go on forever.
The cemetery near my friend’s town in Puerto Rico closed over the weekend. There was immense damage from Hurricane Maria, so the only option officials have is to close the area. People who have loved ones still buried there can move them to another location, as soon as one is chosen. So the process of searching for loved ones among the destruction begins.
One hardship after another is endured. My close friend has withstood so much in the past few months. There are also medical and familial struggles she is handling. For now, she needs to communucate with her brother as to how to move their mother out of the closed location. The priority now is to make sure they can see their mother again.
Last night I received a call from my best friend from Puerto Rico. We only spoke for a few minutes, but she shared with me another heartbreaking piece of information, due to Hurricane Maria’s impact on the island. A local cemetery was heavily damaged, with graves flipped open and dislocated. The area may need to be closed permanently. My friend needs to wait until Monday to see if her mother’s grave site is one of the hundreds that is damaged.
Understandably, she is devastated. I listen to this news with heavy sadness …sad for her, since it appears that she may never get visit her mother’s resting place again. Sadness for my family still living in Puerto Rico, and praying for their safety. Sadness at the thought of my relatives in the island who have passed, and praying that their resting places escaped with minimal damage. And I also feel frustration at the incredibly slow response from government officials, how millions are still living in hardship.