By Alexus Rios
It was two years ago on September 20th, 2017 when one of the deadliest category five Hurricane hit Puerto Rico and other islands alongside it. Not only did this damage the island but it also damaged the people living on that island, both physically and mentally. Now although this was not the first time Puerto Rico was hit by a Hurricane which can stem back all the way to 1956, Hurricane Maria definitely made a huge impact on the people of Puerto Rico as well as others who watched how this disaster was handled by our President of The United States. This disaster gave the people a glimpse of how Puerto Ricans are treated as second class citizens. Many may think because they are allowed to travel in and out of the United States without being deported means they must also have all the rights that come with actually being a citizen. That is where this claim or thought is completely wrong and unfathomable.
Let’s go back to when Hurricane Sandy hit Texas which let’s keep in mind are their own state and do not belong to the United States but are a part of it. All I can remember is the support and resources they received during this devastating time which of course was the humane thing to be done when a disaster like that happens. But where was that same treatment when Puerto Rico needed the support and help. Many people alongside the President were so insensitive towards this devastating time, not only did the people of Puerto Rico not have clean water but they had no electricity which was crucial for keeping hospitals running to help or keep alive injured people. Remarks were made saying they did not need electricity because they did not need to be on their phones but left out the fact that they needed electricity for actual necessary purposes like air conditioning, keeping hospitals running and being able to communicate with their loved ones to make sure they were okay or even alive. No one talks about how this tragedy and not being able to communicate with a family member affected that person mentally, imagine not being able to a loved one and not knowing whether the last time you saw them would really be the last time. People on the island were left with dirty water, no electricity, and no help with food resources. Containers were found filled with food and supplies that were rotting away when people who needed it had no access or idea it was even there.
The President was not interested in helping them and did not care. Not only did he spread false information about the death toll and the amount of money that Puerto Rico was supposed to obtain after the Hurricane he also did not speak about Hurricane Maria until after seven days it happened. He did not show any kind of leadership or responsibility of the people in Puerto Rico. The people of Puerto Rico were forced to be resilient because if they did not uplift themselves from this horrific situation and have the help of others they probably would be in a much worse situation spiritually, mentally and physically.
Some people think because Puerto Rican’s have bounced back before that they could easily do it again after this but that’s just not the case. Not having the proper support and help that an island needs when something like this happens is not fair and traumatizing. Puerto Rican’s should not have to be forced to be resilient or to be okay after something tragic like this happens. Last month I had the privilege to go to Puerto Rico after two years since Hurricane María and just being on the Island and being around such caring and loving people makes me sad to think that at one point they were suffering and being ignored of the true horror that they had to face. Below are some pictures I was able to capture the beautiful island two years after Hurricane María.