Greatest Disaster Response in the History of Responses… NOT!!!


Kaitlin Albarran, Staff Writer and Design Team

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. The storm was a vicious Category 4 with intense winds and rain that left Puerto Rico in a shattered state: the power on the whole island was out, clean water and food were scarce, communications were destroyed, and most buildings were wrecked, including hospitals. The initial death toll ranged from ten to sixteen casualties. However, due to an inadequate response to the hurricane, the death toll attributed to Maria rises to 2,975 deaths. Tragically, a lack of sufficient medical attention (extremely limited access to dialysis, oxygen, insulin, etc.…) and clean water can be linked to many of these deaths. Research conducted by the George Washington University attribute the spiked death toll to sepsis, Alzheimer’s, suicide, diabetes, and respiratory diseases. When trying to defend his response to Maria, President Donald Trump rated himself, saying, “[We] did an underappreciated great job,” in a tweet.

President Donald Trump’s first statement on the matter came through Twitter (of course) when he tweeted, “Puerto Rico being hit hard by new monster Hurricane. Be careful, our hearts are with you—will be there to help!” Hmm. Interesting. So, does that mean that waiting six days to schedule a meeting on how to respond to this disaster after playing golf for a weekend and holding a rally is being “there to help” when it is most needed? Wait, but didn’t the President visit Puerto Rico? Yes, thirteen days after Maria struck. On October 3, 2017, he visited Puerto Rico. He made a spectacle of throwing paper towels into a crowd (he used a sick basketball shooting form!). Okay, definitely an appropriate response right there. I’m sorry for doubting his sincerity. For some time after Maria, President Trump took to Twitter to slam Puerto Rico’s governor and representatives when they asked for more help, tweeting that the Puerto Ricans “want everything to be done for them.” I don’t know, but Puerto Rico might be saying that because their homes just got destroyed by 155 miles-per-hour wind and don’t have many resources left. The job of the United States president is to serve and protect American citizens. This is something that maybe was forgotten, as remarks were made that seemed to bring conflicting interests to the surface. He appeared to care more about how poor Puerto Rico’s electrical grid was before and how the hurricane would affect Wall Street (see the photo gallery below). That’s not exactly a shocker, as the President is a large player in the business world.

The job of a president is to serve and protect American citizens.”

So, did President Trump really deserve to call his response “an underappreciated great job?” He failed to do his best to assist American citizens in times of great distress. He tried to deny the deaths reported beyond the initial count of sixteen, emotionally impacting those who lost loved ones to hurricane Maria. His mocking of the government for their pleas for assistance isn’t the most helpful thing didn’t help either. Mr. Trump’s response could’ve been better if he held off his golfing and campaigning for a while and immediately focused on sending aide to the devastated island. The waiting game is not one to play when lives are involved. The President could’ve done more of his job and served as a source of encouragement and hope for those impacted by the hurricane. His lack of sympathy and portrayal of Puerto Rico as an economic burden don’t uphold his rating. Sorry, Donald.



How much do you agree with Kaitlin Albarran's stance in her piece: "Greatest Disaster Response in the History of Responses… NOT!!!?"

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