3.4 million Americans are in danger of starvation and dehydration, with little communication with the rest of the world.
When Hurricane Maria ripped through the American commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the power grid was obliterated, and suddenly hundreds of roads were impassable.
Communications were knocked out.
An island went dark.
For a long time, Puerto Rico was one of the happiest places on Earth, with a positive outlook on life even as a crushing debt was piling up.
The 3.4 million Americans living there are being held responsible for billions of dollars, but without statehood, they can’t file for bankruptcy, and without a separate currency, they can’t devalue money to help their economy.
But they struggled on.
Then, in late September, a Category 4 hurricane tore through the American territory, defoliating almost every tree on the island and turning dry washes into raging rivers, after Irma already sideswiped the island only several days before.
Their debt more than doubled in less than 24 hours.
While federal help is lukewarm, entrepreneurs and celebrities dash to help. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of the record-breaking musical Hamilton and Oscar-nominated soundtrack composer for Moana, released a song that includes the names of all 78 Puerto Rican towns.
All proceeds go to the Hispanic Federation’s Unidos fund for Hurricane Maria victims. A Real Housewife of NYC, no, I’m not joking, is legitimately doing her part, calling out other wealthy people on their inaction, gathering massive donations and paying with her own money for the supplies to get sent down, and even volunteering herself to do work for a few days.
Truck drivers from the mainland are volunteering to drive supplies to remote locations.
News teams are calling out FEMA on their excuses for not servicing certain towns regularly, having producers drive down clear roads that have been officially declared impassable.
Stories of selflessness and generosity surge forth from a place where nobody has much to give.
As devastated and abandoned as Puerto Ricans must feel, they know they are not completely alone.
We can help these 3.4 million Americans in a very simple way.
I know people must feel they have done their share after emptying their pockets into the disaster-stricken areas affected by Harvey and Irma.
And yes, you have!
You have done good things for good people.
You go, reader! But P.R. needs your help, too.
“Donor fatigue” is the cause of low donation amounts for Puerto Rico, and it’s slowing relief efforts and stifling awareness.
The simplest and quickest way is to purchase Lin-Manuel’s song, “Almost Like Praying,” which is $1.29 on iTunes, meaning that all of the $1.29 goes to the cause.
It’s written by a pop culture icon whilst being performed by several celebrities, clean with a catchy beat, and kids can get a bit of geography out of it.
There are other ways too, if you’re up for the challenge.
If you know anyone in P.R., you can transfer money to them within 15 minutes via Wal-Mart.
It’s very difficult to transport supplies at the moment, and the risk of failed complete transport is high.
My family tried to send down a box full of mosquito repellent, food, and batteries, but as I write this it has been sitting in Miami for almost a week.
A week is too long, so we decided to donate money as well.
Donating money is an effective way, as larger organizations ship supplies that can be purchased with your generously given money.
You’ll be helping fellow citizens, and in the destructive wake of Harvey, Irma, and Maria, what’s more American than that?