What’s going on in Puerto Rico?


Photographs courtesy of Photo from U.S. Department of Defense

Puerto Rico state employee cries while talking to a service member

After Hurricane Maria hit the small island of Puerto Rico, it seems that the longer time goes on, the more news comes out showing just how horrible the situation really is.

It’s been two weeks since the hurricane hit the island, and millions of residents still don’t have access to clean water or electricity. People are so desperate that they are forced to drink highly contaminated stream water. On top of all that, it is predicted that the island won’t regain full electricity until next year. About 85 percent of the entire island is without electricity.

But not everything is without hope. Landlines are beginning to work, so it is now possible to call Puerto Rican residents. About 22 states have pledged that they would help Puerto Rico to recover. President Donald Trump has even authorized other countries to ship aid to Puerto Rico.

But the island is still in dire need of help, and a lot more needs to be done.

Many students at UIS admit to not knowing enough about the situation in Puerto Rico.

“It’s not being heard so people don’t know about it,” said freshman Kenia Aranda.

Other students say that UIS should have more opportunities to discuss exactly what’s happening on the island and what we can do to help.

“I think it would be nice if the school hosted an open forum that we had an opportunity to discuss different ways that we could help as a university,” suggests sophomore Crystal Summerrise. “Maybe we could partner with some of the organizations here.”

Students and employees can donate to local relief funds that directly benefit helping Puerto Rico. In an e-mail to all employees, Chancellor, Susan Koch, said that she has already “heard examples of employees donating in an effort to ease the enormous loss that so many people have suffered following the destruction caused by three major hurricanes.”

She also encouraged employees to donate to the State and University Employees Combined Appeal (SECA), an annual workplace giving campaign that will benefit Habitat for Humanity and the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund. SECA will have a number of events throughout October, including BINGO and Oktoberfest, where students and faculty alike can donate.

You can also donate to the Puerto Rico fund by visiting masbia.org/puertorico which contains a small list of places you can donate to.

All donations will go directly to helping the people of Puerto Rico. To volunteer, you can visit nvoad.org/howtohelp/volunteer to sign up to be on a waiting list.