The region also suffered from a lethal outbreak of the bacterial disease leptospirosis, killing dozens. If you've never even heard of leptospirosis before this sentence, it's because officials chose to ignore it was happening. There's also a rash of desperate suicides going that is being seriously underreported.
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But because "Puerto Rico Is Still A Mess" isn't a headline you can run for 300 consecutive days, the island's story did not get the ongoing attention it deserved. (Also, the news was too busy talking about the Roseanne cancellation.) That was good for the government, because it gave them some extra time before they had to admit they screwed up bad. "Toddler eating spaghetti" bad, if that toddler then also willfully left three million people to fend for themselves in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. In a report published July 12th, FEMA admitted that the government was wholly unprepared to deal with Puerto Rico's crisis. Hell, when the hurricane hit, FEMA's local warehouse was nearly empty because all of the island's emergency supplies had been used up for other weather emergencies.
Their housing relief efforts are particularly shameful. 79 percent of all housing aid appeals have been ignored or flat out denied by the agency, with most Puerto Ricans being deemed ineligible because they by can't provide the proper documents proving ownership. Because that's what you grab when Neptune decides to turn your house into a leaky aquarium -- first the deed, then the kids in order of how many utility bills they have on them. However, a bigger problem is that many Puerto Ricans didn't have that paperwork to begin with, having built their houses illegally, and if this government hears the words "illegal" and "Hispanic" in the same sentence, there's apparently a greater chance of them snatching the kids than offering any aid.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
FEMA was also ready to kick over 1,800 people out their housing assistance program, making about 700 of them straight up homeless, until a judge ordered them to, to put it bluntly, keep doing their goddamn jobs. But there is some good news. Finally, after nine months and about as many CEOs, Puerto Rico's power company has finally restored power to almost all of the island. That solved a lot of problems, and Puerto Rico is finally getting back on its feet ... just in time for the next hurricane season. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency has literally come out saying they're not up for managing another emergency. But sure, it's the Puerto Ricans who aren't carrying their weight.
Puerto Rico is still recovering, and there are still too many broken buildings and temporary blue tarps littered around the island for them to weather another storm. So click the links on top of this article, donate, and the next time someone asks about how you handle yourself in a crisis, you can honestly tell them "Better than FEMA does."
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And for a solid read about the people of Puerto Rico and its, quote, "ongoing colonial dilemma," check out Puerto Rico: What Everyone Needs To Know
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For more, check out how Zuckerberg's VR Tour Of Puerto Rico Proves He's An Alien and Trump Dedicated A Golf Trophy To Hurricane Victims. Neat.
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