A Milwaukee Red Cross volunteer who was deployed to Puerto Rico confirmed that people in rural areas at the island haven’t seen any relief aid, since Hurricane Maria hit.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
October 17, 2017
San Juan, Puerto Rico – As President Donald Trump goes golfing on his vacation getaways in the U.S., thousands of U.S. Citizens living in rural areas in Puerto Rico continue to suffer due to lack of relief aid including food, water, electricity, cellphone and internet service and other items that hasn’t reach them at all. Yussef Morales, a volunteer from Milwaukee, WI who was deployed to Puerto Rico on October 13 by the Red Cross confirmed that people at the island, especially those living in rural areas since Hurricane Maria struck hadn’t seen any FEMA, military or local relief aid workers until he and other Red Cross volunteers happened to reach those areas. Morales and the volunteers are assigned to Hato Rey, a ward in the municipality of San Juan and carry a Satellite phone when on a mission to locate missing persons. When they come upon displaced people on the road or go into rural areas, Morales and his crew allow fellow disaster victims the opportunity to call relatives in the U.S. to let them know they’re alive and “Ok.”
Victor Huyke, Publisher of El Conquistador Newspaper who is related to Morales posted the following update, according to Morales. Huyke on his Facebook account posted, “Yussef Gave Us An Update
Just got a phone call from Yussef Morales. The situation in Puerto Rico is far worse than being reported.
Four weeks after Hurricane Maria swept through the island of Puerto Rico, many people living in rural areas have not seen any aid.
Yussef said that many people tell him and his team that they are the first rescuers they have seen since the hurricane passed and knock out the water and power.
“It is messed up everywhere. There is not one place that we have gone to that wasn’t destroyed by the hurricane,” said Yussef. “Mudslides, floods, downed trees, houses that have no roofs. Nothing. People see us and start asking for help, water, and food,”
Staying in a church that has a generator that runs only at night so they can have air conditioning, 100 people are stuffed into the poorly lit church. A mix of Red Cross volunteers, and people that lost everything.
“We go out every day to find people that are listed missing. We try to find as many as we can in a day. But there is so much stuff blocking the roads, that we have to walk most of the time,” said Yussef. With a list of names, Yussef and his team try to find the missing. “When we find them, we have a satellite phone and we have them call their families to let them know they are alive.”
But being alive in this devastation is just barely living. The help is not getting to the people fast enough or not at all.
“I have seen some ‘$#|+’ like out of a horror movie. People so thin they looked like zombies. Children running around with almost no clothes. No schools are open. I watched a woman wash her clothes in the rain because that was the only water she had. She had a blanket where her roof use to be. Her kids were under the blanket, but the blanket was so wet, that her kids were still getting wet.”
“Stuff is not reaching the people. Not enough help. Some areas are so hard to get too, that nothing can get in. We walked up a mountain to reach one family… Let me tell you, nothing makes you feel as good as seeing the people’s faces when they talk to their family”
I (Huyke) will update everyone as Yussef calls.
In other news from Puerto Rico:
Heavily armed private security mercenaries and non-armed security from the private firm Academi (also known as Blackwater), has been contracted by the Federal Protective Services, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to provide security and protect the fuel and water supplies in the island.
The Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz has called on UNICEF and other countries for relief aid as Trump’s administration, FEMA and the military are slowly working to fix the electrical grid and gradually transport food and water to rural areas and other parts of Puerto Rico where is desperately needed.
On Friday, Olga Tañon, a Merengue style singer claimed in a Facebook posted video that loads of food donations were being stolen by an organized criminal group that operates at the Aguadilla Airport in Puerto Rico and called on local and federal authorities to investigate.
Don Omar, another singer who worked with Tañon to get food donations in the U.S. and flew the supplies to the island also made the same claims about food and water containers disappearing in Aguadilla.
The Department of Justice in Puerto Rico (DOJPR) confirmed that a prosecutor has been assigned by DOJPR Secretary Wanda Vázquez to investigate food, water and items from FEMA being discarded in trash containers and not bring distributed by those working with the municipality of Patillas. Investigators found discarded FEMA food boxes and other items in a container (video), also food packages were left outside without protection from rain and rats were seen scavenging and contaminating food items, which were also damped. Anyone caught dumping or destroying FEMA supplies will face charges and up to 20 years in federal prison, if convicted.
It is a disgrace and shame that the U.S. has the largest armed forces ready to be deployed if war is declared in any part of the world including a $600B budget approved by Congress, but is not equipped to invade Puerto Rico with relief aid, convoy trucks, all terrain vehicles to create field food kitchens in different parts of an island after the Hurricane Maria devastation, which is a U.S. Common Wealth and tent cities to protect U.S. Citizens in Puerto Rico from the elements.
Shame on Trump and the U.S. Congress for not declaring a rapid relief aid deployment as soon as possible.
If Congress can declare war, Congress can declared a rapid relief aid for Puerto Rico as well.
“Puerto Rican lives Matter”