BY RAUL HERNANDEZ
What is going on in Puerto Rico brings back memories of 1979 and Hurricane David.
When I worked at the El Paso Chapter of the American Red Cross, sometimes the staff would get assigned to work on national disasters with the National Red Cross.
In 1979, I went to Puerto Rico after Hurricane David caused flooding on the island. Although it did not hit Puerto Rico but passed about 100 miles from the island with 75 to 85 mph winds.
Hurricane David with category 5 winds of up to 175 mph resulted in 56 deaths and tremendous damage to the Dominican Republic. Hurricane David in Puerto Rico cost the lives of seven people, including four by electrocution.
I was assigned to do casework in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, which involved going to heavily flooded areas. This involved going to rural areas so I had to hook up with social workers Mirna and Edie so I can find these places.
The roads were in pretty good shape but there were mudslides that killed two or three people and blocked a few roads.
People never really asked for Red Cross help unless they really needed. I recall stopping at this cluster of houses that looked like they were being held up by chicken wire and duct tape.
In some areas, Puerto Rico looks like a Third World Country.
We stopped and parked our car, and one shyly a man came forward and asked whether we were helping people who were victims of the rains. I explained what we were doing, and he said nothing got damaged or destroyed.
“My clothes got wet that’s all,” he said.
The guy with his family looking on had nothing, and I was wrapping up the Red Cross assistance in Puerto Rico. I wasn’t going to turn away this man. So I played Santa Claus.
I wrote him a $250 clothing voucher for him and his family to go to a store and buy clothes.
The next thing I had a line of people saying their clothes got wet, and I wrote with a smile about 15 clothing vouchers. The average voucher was about $200.
I felt good, and the Red Cross didn’t spend as much for disaster relief as expected because the island didn’t take a direct hit from Hurricane David.
The Red Cross provides food, shelter, and clothing to victims of disasters and they do great work. Sometimes, Red Cross workers along with other relief workers are given the tasks of providing shelters before hurricanes hit.
I met a lot of wonderful people who were friendly and very appreciative of the help from the Red Cross, other private organizations, and FEMA.
The latest images and words coming from Puerto Rico indicate that a lot of political squabbling is involved in the latest relief effort. To add to the frustration, the U.S., unfortunately, elected Eddie Haskell with a Twitter account, who spews venom about Puerto Ricans while pushing a self-serving, billionaire-fueled, Ponzi scam disguised as a tax plan.
The government needs to do more for the people on the island, the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico Carmen Yulin Cruz pleaded.
Washington Post Sunday story: San Juan mayor continues calls for relief after attacks from Trump
What the federal government has done so far in Puerto Rico is posted on the FEMA website: FEMA
Much, much more needs to be done, including rebuilding the communications and electrical systems.
Many Puerto Ricans are leaving the island and not looking back, and I don’t blame them.
Climate change is going to be sending more of these powerful and destructive monsters that will make places like Puerto Rico almost impossible for people to live and sustain the loss of life and monumental destruction.
Why hasn’t the media obtained the government expense accountants of Trump and his staff that is being submitted by those working at the White House?
The expense accounts are probably filled with trails of unauthorized and extravagant expenses charged by staff members and paid for by taxpayers.
The investigative reporting of Politico lead to the ouster of former Health and Human Services Tom Price who fleeced taxpayers for a million dollars by hiring private charter planes.
Expense reports can be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
The media headline: John Kasich Hints That He May Need To Leave The GOP
Subheadline: “The Ohio governor also noted that Americans seem enthusiastic about the idea of candidates outside the two main parties.”