It’s not just that so many of Puerto Rico’s citizens don’t have power- it’s so much worse than that and humanitarian organizations on the ground are sounding the alarm that the deteriorating conditions are seriously impacting human health and survival.
For instance, 1
- Without electricity, a great deal of daily life grinds to a halt: there’s no light at night, no fans or air conditioners to cool sweltering rooms, no easy way to charge phones or access the internet, no reliable way to keep hospitals running–the list goes on.
- Many homes are totally waterlogged, including all the mattresses, which forces families to sleep on the floor where rats crawl around at night.
- Some people living in the countryside have no access to clean drinking water because the storm knocked out their community’s delivery system.
- And mold.
(Those with money have more options: hot meals in restaurants; fuel for their cars and generators; the means to purchase dry, clean sheets and towels, etc…)
Oxfam consultant Martha Thompson says,
“’A lot of times in hurricanes people forget to talk about just how hard it is to clean out your house, and the mold. It’s an increasing problem. People are just beginning to realize it.’
Chlorine is what people need to try and tackle the problem, but the supplies are restricted.”
Thompson goes on to say,
“You need a whole kit to take mold off. You need to educate people about that. And so how do you do that when there is no communication?” 2
And so, with the increased mold, those suffering from asthma (which according to some studies, 19% of the population of Puerto Rico deals with) are having an even harder time. You see, managing their condition is difficult because “countless residential, commercial and institutional properties across the islands”3 have considerable mold contamination. Think of it this way, you go to the doctor to deal with your asthma but because of the water damage and elevated indoor humidity levels (made worse by a lack of air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation caused by the power outages), your asthma is worse. It’s a no-win situation for far too many.
Puerto Rico is in dire straights and needs help. They need food, electricity, infrastructure, medication, and tarps. Plus, lest we forget, winter is coming.
If you can help, please do: you can visit this link here to make a donation.