News Ticker

Hurricane relief, the lack of it, and what you can do

by Emily Kissinger, In-Depth Staff

Photo courtesy of: dla.mi

A brutal hurricane season that started this summer has caused devastation throughout islands in the Atlantic and in the southern United States.

From Aug. 25 to Sept. 3, Hurricane Harvey (Category 4) hit southern Texas as well as Louisiana. Not soon after, Irma (Category 4) hit Florida, Cuba, Turks, Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico, and other islands in the surrounding area on Aug. 30. Hurricane Nate (Category 1) followed suit hitting practically the same spots on Sept. 7. Hurricane Maria (Category 4) hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 16 causing the island to suffer through not one but two hurricanes in the span of a month.

185-miles-per-hour winds, catastrophic flooding, and power outages are just the tip of the iceberg.

Micah Joseph, a resident of the Caribbean remembers hearing word for word from the other locals around her “Anguilla is underwater.” and “95% of Barbuda is now destroyed.”

The response to these natural disasters from the American government and relief organizations hasn’t been enough. It continues to cause unrest among those affected and a lack of trust in their country.

“…(T)he issue is not being handled effectively. News outlets did a very poor job of informing the public on the issue. They were too busy focusing on people ‘looting’ rather than telling people how and where they can donate.” said Jailene Camacho, a Florida resident whose family has been affected by the hurricane.

President Donald Trump has publicly said Puerto Rico is not a concern, he’s quite blatantly treating the commonwealth differently than the damaged states, such as Florida.

Puerto Rico has always been the hub for hurricane aid to the surrounding islands in the past years. With the commonwealth itself being drastically damaged the others are at a loss without their original go to for help.

Many of those affected by these tragedies are telling people to avoid donating to large charities, specifically the American Red Cross. The organization has had multiple scandals over the past few years. While most of the attention is brought to the response in Haiti in 2010 where they had gained $500 million worth in donations yet only six houses were built; other offenses include emergency vehicles being taken away from relief work during Sandy to purely be used as backdrops for press conferences and overall shortcomings at the expense of the victims, according to “The Washington Post.”, “NPR” and “ProPublica.org”.

“[Top Red Cross officials were concerned only] about the appearance of aid, not actually delivering it,” said Richard Rieckenberg, who oversaw part of the Red Cross’ efforts to provide support after the hurricanes in 2012.

Of course you want to know what can you do if some big charities aren’t the most optimal way of helping hurricane victims. It’s always important to do your research so you know where your money is going and how it’s helping others. I recommend donating to local and international charity organizations, and those listed next to this article are the best choices in my personal opinion. If that’s not a viable option for you, there are even multiple GoFundMe’s that are popping up in response to the disasters.