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Never Forget: September 20, 2017

On September 20th, 2017 Hurricane María shook the island of Puerto Rico to its core. More than 3 million American citizens were left without power, many did not have access to clean water for months and thousands of families living in the rural areas of the island were cut off from the rest due to fallen bridges and overflowing rivers. The catastrophic storm put the Puerto Rican people further into the already overwhelming debt and medical crisis the island was suffering from.

 

Before Hurricane María, Puerto Rico had been finding a way to pay the 72 billion dollar debt the government had accumulated over the years. Consequently, living on the island had become extremely difficult, especially for health care professionals. Seeking better pay, opportunities and overall a better quality of life many middle-class families have been forced to flee the island. As a result, thousands of business owners, lawyers, physicians, nurses and many other excellent and gifted professionals left the island.

After a few weeks, the government of Puerto Rico issued out that the death toll had been 64, a number far too low for the catastrophic effects of this hurricane. After almost a year, there are still people living without power and a roof over their heads. Because of the shortage of healthcare professionals on the island and the lack of access to clean water, power, medication, and doctors, the death toll is now of about 3,000 people.

 

This has been the most devastating natural disaster that has hit the island in its modern history. Yet, the President of the United States denies the lives lost and the fact that the aid provided was insufficient and unsuccessful. This article only scratches the surface of what the Puerto Rican people have had to endure this year. What I am hoping that you, the reader, understand from this very brief summary of this terrible ordeal is that we cannot forget what happened on September 20th, 2017. Furthermore, we need to rebut the president’s claims that the aid provided to the Puerto Rican people was enough and a success when the reality is that they were treated as second-class citizens by the president they didn’t even get to elect.

Claudia is a sophomore at The University of Tampa. As a Bio major on the Pre-Med track she's got her head buried in books most of the time. When she's not studying Darwin's theory of evolution and calculating the yield of chemical reactions she loves to do anatomical sketches, take pictures for her IG, write short stories and get involved in as much volunteer work as she can. Being Puerto Rican she's got a lot of drive and passion that she puts towards her goal of becoming a Neonatal surgeon.
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