Helping others heal: Focus shouldn’t just be on US during natural disasters

Since early September, it seems like the US has been ravaged by natural disaster. Our home state was hit by hurricane Harvey, Florida was hit by hurricane Irma, California has been razed by massive wildfires, and more recently a storm developed off the east coast named hurricane Jose. However, a lot of people disregard natural disasters outside of the United States. Such as Puerto Rico, which was hit by Hurricane Maria.

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, and the effects were devastating. The US territory was left in ruins. With roads destroyed, water unusable, and electricity down, the island was knocked back decades in their infrastructure alone. Most of this damage is due to the fact that Puerto Rico is isolated from the US, making it difficult for people to evacuate from the island before the event and for people to receive help now.

A lot of people have worked to raise awareness for the territory, and much has been donated. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the song Almost Like Praying, sampling lyrics from the song Maria from the musical West Side Story. The song showcases singers from Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries, and all the proceeds go toward relief efforts in Puerto Rico. There have also been other people advocating for donation to Puerto Rico like Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Camila Cabello, and J. Balvin.

However, some people are still debating over whether or not we as a nation should take more action. Here are some reasons why I believe Americans should donate to Puerto Rico:
1. Puerto Rico is a US territory so major disasters like this affect us too.
2. The island is significantly smaller than the U.S, so a large natural disaster can have large consequences.
3. Puerto Rico is not very prosperous, so a natural disaster is very difficult to recover from.
4. Most of the population was affected, and most places in Puerto Rico still don’t have running water and most of the island still doesn’t have electricity.

There are plenty of relief causes that people can donate to and many small things they can do to support Puerto Rico. Amongst the many other things happening in our country right now, including the lasting impacts of Harvey and Irma, Puerto Rico is not at the top of the list for aid. Just because we help others doesn’t mean we get to neglect the Americans in Puerto Rico. Disasters like this shouldn’t be a burden, they should be a chance for us to come together as a nation and put our best foot forward. It’s up to us to make a change, a change that Puerto Rico is in desperate need of.

Even the smallest donations can help towards the cause and have a positive impact. Some organizations you can donate to include:
ConPRmetidos: www.conprmetidos.org
Fondos unidos de Puerto Rico: www.fondosunidos.org

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