Two Weeks After Hurricane Fiona, Puerto Rico Is Still Recovering

Two weeks and at least twenty-five deaths after a Category 1 storm made landfall in Puerto Rico, the island’s infrastructure is still reeling from the aftermath. Hurricane Fiona dropped more than thirty inches of rain in some areas, compromising roads and bridges with the subsequent mudslides. While most residents are no longer cut off from food and medical care, more than 100,000 people are still without electricity as of last Monday.

Though recovery has started, this situation is all too familiar for some residents. Government dysfunction at both the federal and local level has led to continued hardship for the approximately 3.2 million people living in Puerto Rico, with present disasters echoing those of the past. In the devastation after Hurricane Maria, it took almost a year to fully restore power to the island, leading to the restructuring and privatization of Puerto Rico’s electrical infrastructure. LUMA Energy was awarded a $1.5 billion contract by the Puerto Rican government in 2021. Even in the months before Fiona hit, islanders expressed dissatisfaction with LUMA. The Hill reported in early September that Puerto Ricans have been frustrated by continuous, extended power outages and hikes in energy prices since LUMA took over energy transmission.

While LUMA failed to prepare for a storm of Fiona’s magnitude, there was also neglect on the part of the federal government. It was recently discovered that the Trump administration had previously withheld congressionally approved disaster relief aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. In 2019, the Washington Post reported that the former president told White House officials “that he did not want a single dollar going to Puerto Rico.” The administration instead wanted those funds allocated to Texas and Florida, ignoring the plight of the US territory.

Puerto Rico’s own government has had it’s own shortcomings. In 2017, it awarded a $300 million contract to Whitefish Energy, an electrical company based out of Montana with alarmingly little experience and even fewer employees. Two to be exact. Needless to say this was a bad deal for Puerto Rico and taxpayers, so bad in fact that the FBI launched an investigation into the deal.

President Biden visited Puerto Rico last Monday to take stock of the damage caused by Hurricane Fiona. In a public address, Biden pledged that the federal government would partner with Puerto Rico to “build faster than in the past, and strong and better prepared for the future.” The White House announced $60 million in federal aid to “shore up levees, fortify flood walls, and create a new flood warning system” for Puerto Rico.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related

RFK Jr Announces Running Mate

Robert F Kennedy Jr., son of Bobby Kennedy, the former attorney general and senator and brother to JFK, announced his independent candidacy on October 9, 2023. While he was previously known for his work as a fierce environmental lawyer fighting large companies, in more recent years he has become infamous for his anti-vaccine views, regularly […]

Collapse of Baltimore Bridge Constructs Conspiracy

In the early morning hours of March 26, the cargo ship Dali struck Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge when leaving the harbor. The ship was bound for Sri Lanka when at 1:24 a.m., it experienced a power failure. The crew reported the power failure, causing authorities to stop traffic from crossing over the bridge. The […]

Former CT Senator Joe Lieberman Passes at 82

Joseph Lieberman (he/him, I-CT), known for serving Connecticut in the U.S. Senate for 24 years and switching parties during his last term, has passed away at age 82. His passing follows his selection as the the first Orthodox Jewish vice president nominee of a major party in 2000. The founder of the No Labels party […]

ISIS Attack in Moscow Raises Terror Concerns Internationally

Russia sustained the deadliest terror attack on their country in the past twenty years on March 22, 2024. The attack took place inside the Crocus City Hall, a concert venue where 144 concertgoers were brutally killed. Multiple gunmen were spotted in eye-witness video footage entering the concert hall dressed in camouflage clothing (Reuters). The gunmen […]