Things in Puerto Rico are getting worse -- not better.

By Newsroom America Feeds at 1 Oct 2017

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Eleven days after Maria ripped through my island of Puerto Rico, the devastation here has been called "apocalyptic" -- and I agree. What I'm seeing is that for the most part, things are getting worse, not better.

Most of the island remains without power. Thousands are waiting in hours-long lines just for a bag of ice to keep what food they have from spoiling -- and without working ATM machines, most families can't access funds to purchase more.

Worse, what food, water and other critical supplies have arrived are stuck in tankers, both because the island's infrastructure is obliterated and because there aren't enough truck drivers to transport the aid inland, where it is most needed. And we've just received word of a flash flood watch, which could set relief efforts back even further.

The 3.4 million Americans living in Puerto Rico are entitled to the same services as someone living in Texas, or Florida, or New York. Yet while the Jones Act has finally been lifted, there's still no dedicated aid package for Puerto Rico -- even as the island's hardest-hit areas have yet to see any FEMA help at all.

That's where you come in. Our community-based partners on the ground are working 24/7 to help alleviate the intense suffering here -- but we can't do it without you. I know you've already been so generous, but can you contribute again today? Remember, 100% of funds donated will go directly to community-led recovery efforts. Please, send whatever you can to the Sierra Club's Maria relief and recovery effort now. Help us aid our neighbors and fellow Americans for whom conditions on the ground are only getting worse.

As you've probably read, Maria is the worst storm to hit our island in 80 years. But if this year's hurricane season is any indication, it won't be 80 years before we get another storm like this.

We can't let history repeat itself: we must rebuild Puerto Rico in a way that is safe and sustainable -- with homes and hospitals actually built to new safety codes. With cooling centers, additional generators, and other measures to protect the elderly, children, and other vulnerable people from future power outages and fuel shortages.

We must also work with our partners to ensure that Puerto Rico's entire infrastructure is overhauled. Clean-energy microgrids are just one example we're working on: localized to a geographic area, microgrids would allow critical functions to continue when the "big grid" goes out, and would help power cleaner energy systems like solar, wind, and biomass.

In other words, we see it as our moral imperative to ensure that Puerto Rico's recovery is engineered in a way that is just, equitable, and enduring. Can you help us do that with a contribution of $5 or more now? Please, send $5 or whatever you can to help our community-led Maria relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico now.

I can't stress enough the desperation that pervades every corner of this island. But it's clear that supporters like you are ready to show the compassion that Trump and our government have not. Thank you. Please know your help is appreciated, needed, and making a lifesaving difference.

I'm sure I'll be sharing updates on how you can continue to help our fellow Americans very soon.


Adriana Gonzalez, Environmental Justice Organizing Representative, Sierra Club Puerto Rico Chapter


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