Killeen reader calls for residents to offer assistance to Puerto Rico
To the Editor:
As everyone is aware, the island of Puerto Rico was struck by a massive hurricane with winds exceeding 160 miles per hour, covering the length and width of the island.
The residents were in shock, witnessing an event the likes of which had not been seen in 80 years.
What the winds did not damage or destroy, the floods finished. The electric grid was devastated, no drinking water, food scarce, thousands of people displaced, homes damaged, businesses destroyed and fuel extremely scarce.
Miraculously, the death toll so far is unbelievably low. Only 16 deaths accounted for.
The island’s governor reacted quickly and decisively at the onset; President Trump assured him that the USA will support the island throughout the entire process. FEMA was present early.
The president was criticized by the media for tweeting that Puerto Rico was in serious trouble, that the infrastructure needed major improvement and that the island was in serious financial difficulties (which could have been the reason for the grid failure and the total lack of electric power).
Those statements were basically true, although they came at an inopportune time, when survival was the only thing on the mind of the affected.
Priority at this time should be to restore water service (slowly becoming available) and to have electric power. Families with small children, the elderly, the seriously ill are in dire need of help.
Fuel is urgently needed to move supplies to the interior. FEMA can help on that issue.
Tons of supplies are just waiting to be moved-shortage of trucks and qualified drivers (CDLs). Canada offered fuel, but it could not be done until a law that restricts any shipment from outside the USA to Puerto Rico is rescinded temporarily.
On the other hand, it is an island in the middle of the ocean, unlike Texas, where trucks and drivers can come by land from dozens of states to help.
There are many organizations operating on behalf of Puerto Rico. Large planes with supplies are beginning to arrive daily.
Many residents of Killeen- and Puerto Rican-born citizens are donating and encouraging others to donate.
It will take time, but the island will survive and flourish once more with the assistance of the United States and faith in God.
P. C. Santiago
retired master sergeant