They have no electricity and may be without it for months. No electricity means no ability to pump gas in order to run generators. It also means no running water. No running water means the spread of disease in addition to the obvious lack of water to drink.
Then there’s the roads and infrastructure that has been obliterated. Jenniffer González, Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative in Congress told CNN:
“It was devastating to see all that kind of debris in all areas, in all towns of the island. We never expected to have a lot of debris in so many areas. A lot of roads are closed, older ones are just gone.”
With the hurricanes that have already plagued us — as well as the nonsensical distraction from the NFL — the temptation is to give in to “compassion fatigue” and think, “it’s too much. I can’t handle any more.”
But we’re Americans. We look and we act. We donate and we show up. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, ravaged by Hurricane Irma as well as Maria, a Florida pilot took it upon herself to gather donations and fly them down. North Texans are also gathering donations to help.
There are many ways to get involved, the easiest of which is to donate, as most people cannot physically be there to help. Samaritan’s Purse has chartered a private plane to fly in supplies and could use donations to continue. Here are quite a few other charities on the ground helping as well.
As in Houston, the rebuilding efforts will continue long after the cameras leave. As Maria continues her path north toward the east coast of the U.S., take the time to see the devastation. Imagine if that were you. Pray hard for the people of Puerto Rico and those still in Maria’s cross-hairs. We’re not out of the woods yet. But we are a compassionate people, and when tragedy strikes, we show up because we care, and we don’t wait for “someone else” to do it. That “someone else” is us.