2010 Earthquake in Haiti Proves We Can Do More to Help Puerto Rico

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Every time a severe natural disaster occurs people lose their homes, their jobs and sometimes even their lives. This was the fate of many living in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, which struck the island and its 3.4 million people last week.

MORE: Hurricane Maria Leaves the Island Of Puerto Rico Without Power

Various media have criticized the Trump administration for slowly responding to the struggling country, and although President Trump has been defending his administration's response, it's evident from the way we have helped other countries that we can be doing more to help Puerto Rico.

After the tragic earthquake that rattled Haiti in 2010, the United States responded within the first 24 hours. According to The Washington Post, an Army Unit responded to the country "before dawn the next morning... to seize control of the main airport in Port-au-Prince. Within two days, the Pentagon had 8,000 American troops en route. Within two weeks, 33 U.S. military ships and 22,000 troops had arrived. More than 300 military helicopters buzzed overhead, delivering millions of pounds of food and water."

This is a testament to the immense level of assistance we can afford and give to countries in conditions of turmoil. So why haven't we shown that same urgency in response to Puerto Rico-- a nation that is a U.S. territory?  

It took over a week to get aFbout 4,400 service members to participate in helping the island, about 1,000 miles from the coast of Florida. While Haiti had about 22,000 troops and 300 helicopters aiding in survival efforts, Puerto Rico has around 1,000 Coast Guard members and 40 helicopters delivering sustenance.  Administration officials have defended these low numbers, saying that they delivered what Puerto Rico had requested. 

We cannot compare the severity of natural disasters and the impact they have on human lives, but we can conclude that if we can respond quickly and efficiently to one country, we should be able to show that same compassion for another. 

On Thursday Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, said that the hurricane relief efforts are a "good news story.” On CNN, Mayor of San Juan Carmen Yulín Cruz criticized Duke saying;

Dammit, this is not a good news story. This is a people-are-dying story. This is a life-or-death story. This is there's-a-truckload-of-stuff-that-cannot-be-taken-to-people story. This is a story of devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food and water — if I could scream it a lot more louder. It is not a good news story when people are dying, when they don't have dialysis, when their generators aren't working and their generators aren't providing for them. Where is there good news here?"  

The Mayor also suggested that Duke should pay a visit to the struggling country before making that "irresponsible statement."

In a series of tweets, President Trump announced that he will be visiting Puerto Rico on Tuesday and that he wished that he was treated more fairly by the media...

 

 

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President Trump was also under fire for hesitancy to lift the Jones Act, which was waived recently during Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey. The law restricts any foreign vessels from shipping into the ports of the United States and its' territories but was waived on Thursday over a week after Maria struck the island. 

Only 36 of Puerto Rico's 69 hospitals have power and around half of the population are still left without running water. Although some towns have been helped, many are still in need and are struggling for food, water, and medication. Overall, we need to see faster and more compassionate efforts made in helping this destroyed island.