The status of Puerto Rico is dwindling with repeated hurricane attacks. First the eye of the Hurricane Irma touched the North of the island and then Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, with a wind speed of 74 miles left the island completely devastated. With high levels of destruction, bordering on a humanitarian crisis, the negligence from the Government of US has resulted in the deepening of the crisis.
Let’s take a look at the Puerto Rican Hurricane crisis through numbers:
62 – 1000: The reported v/s estimated death toll
Lack of a proper death toll data collection mechanisms is the main reason for the improper record of number of deaths. The government was counting deaths related to storm only if the death certificates mentioned storm as the reason of the death. As the government report records only 62 deaths contrary to the actual deaths exceeding 1000, it is a clear sign of negligence. An accurate death toll really matters, because it can help a victim’s family claim federal aid.
8: The number of days it took for Trump to reach Puerto Rico
After 5 days of Trump administration officials visited Puerto Rico, Trump took to Twitter to comment on the debt of the Island instead of supporting the humanitarian crisis. When he reached Puerto Rico, in the first 5 hours he tossed paper towels to the storm victims and proclaimed that the death toll of 16 is very low as compared to the thousands killed by Hurricane Katrina.
1520: The estimated number of displaced Puerto Ricans
Initially, the number of people displaced stood at 12,500. Later on, with restoration works, the number came down to 1520 people living in shelters. In the worst hit areas, 90% of the homes were destroyed. About 60,000 homes still needed roofing help. Many are left with tarps on the roof. According to the reports, as of now, around 1,00,000 Puerto Ricans have left for the continental US. According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, nearly 269,000 people have arrived in Florida on flights from Puerto Rico since the hurricane.
$94.4 billion: The amount needed for the economy to bounce back
For a long time now, the economy of the Island has been dwindling. After Hurricane Maria the $103 billion economy of Puerto Rico reported bankruptcy. Adding to that, since 2010, the population has dropped by 8%, making it harder for the economy to recover and according to the reports of the Demographers, Puerto Rico may lose up 470,335 residents by the end of 2019, which makes the situation even more devastating.
53 %: The percentage of people without power
After 3 months of devastation 28% people still lack running water and are dependent on natural streams. 75% antennas are down and even after restoration works many parts are left without connectivity. To improve the situation telecommunication company, AT&T deployed drones to provide cellular connectivity. The shortage of Power has seriously affected food, medical storage, and temperature control systems in the Island. A faster and better response from the government is required to restore the normal life and improving power and network connectivity is an important part of restoration.
Along with Puerto Rico, many other islands like Caribbean islands, Barbuda, Dominica, US Virgin islands also got affected by Hurricane Maria.