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Cruise Lines Answer the Call for Help in Puerto Rico!

 

Cruise Lines Answer the Call for Help in Puerto Rico!

Hurricane Maria destroys Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria destroys Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria did catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico.  97% of the country is without power.  That means no electricity, no air-conditioning, no refrigeration, no gas, no ATM, no work.  3.5 Million people are struggling to find food, clean water, and medicine.  In addition to that cell phone services, internet, television, and radio have all been knocked out leaving the island of Puerto Rico with no way to communicate to the outside world.  The US Government has been slow to respond.  47% of US Citizens believe that Puerto Rico is a foreign country!  Which as forced Puerto Rico to put out a Call for Help!

COROZAL, PUERTO RICO – SEPTEMBER 27: People wait in line for gas as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 27, 2017, in Corozal, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread, severe damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grids as well as agricultural destruction after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • Did you know Puerto Ricans pay US federal taxes? They don’t pay federal income tax on jobs in PR.

Puerto Ricans are U.S. Citizens

US and Puerto Rican Flags

US and Puerto Rican Flags

Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, and its people are U.S. citizens.  In 1917, the U.S. Congress passed the Jones Act, that granted Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship.  Puerto Ricans pay U.S. federal taxes.  However, Puerto Ricans cannot vote for the  President of the United States.  Although Puerto Ricans do participate in the nomination process of the 2 political parties.  Only Puerto Ricans with a voting residence in one of the 50 states or in the District of Columbia can vote for President.

  • Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States with roughly 3.5 million people.

Since the Hurricane, the island of Puerto Rico has had no power.  It is estimated that it will take 6 months to repair the power grid.  That means the island will have no lights, no electricity and nothing will work that requires electricity.  There are some gas-powered generators on the island.  However, because only 3% of the island has power there are few gas stations with the ability to pump gas.  The lines for those stations are long and the people must carry the gas because most streets are flooded or blocked with debris.

Roads blocked from Hurricane Maria

Roads blocked from Hurricane Maria

Who was 1st to Respond to the Call for Help?

Governor Cuomo's press conference with JetBlue

September 22, 2017–Queens — On the heels of an official governor to governor request by Puerto Rico’s Governor, Ricardo Rosselló, following the devastation of Hurricane Maria, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo prepares to travel to Puerto Rico with key emergency response officials on the first available fight, along with specialists critical to helping Puerto Rico repair its devastated power structure. In addition, New York will be delivering a variety of emergency supplies on a plane donated by JetBlue. (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

The call for help has been put out by Puerto Rico.  The United States Government has reacted slowly to their request.  The State of New York was the first to provide aid to Puerto Rico.  On September 22, 2017, 2 days after the Hurricane hit Governor Cuomo himself flew with the New York National Guard to Puerto Rico just days after the hurricane.  They brought 3 large  Commercial Generators, drinking water and over 100,000 MREs (Meals Ready to Eat).   The New York National Guard has also been back bringing additional humanitarian supplies.  The NY National Guard is working with JetBlue on the relief flights.  JetBlue has donated $1 million of its services for the relief efforts.

The State of New York sends supplies to Puerto Rico

The State of NY sends supplies to Puerto Rico

Thank God for the Cruise Industry

Carnival responds to call for help in Puerto Rico

Carnival sends help to Puerto Rico

The call for help has also been answered by the Cruise Ship Industry.  Carnival Cruise Line has donated and delivered supplies, water, and food to Puerto Rico.  Currently, Carnival is working with authorities in Puerto Rico to help determine other ways to help.  Carnival Corp. also announced a $10 million donation pledge to hurricane relief victims in the Caribbean and Florida, which now includes San Juan.

RCCL uses Adventures of the Seas to rescue people off the Islands

RCCL uses Adventures of the Seas to rescue people off the Islands

Other Cruise lines have also answered the call for help from Puerto Rico.  Royal Caribbean Cruises also has offered humanitarian aid.  They are involved in evacuation and support of life.  Royal Caribbean has utilized Adventures of the Seas based in San Juan to bring evacuees to Ft. Lauderdale.  Norwegian Cruise Line is raising money.  They have partnered with disaster relief organization All Hands Volunteers to raise money for hurricane relief.  NCL will match up to $1.25 million of donations and the Hope Starts Here program has set a goal of $2.5 million in donations.

Norwegian Cruise Line

  • Did you know the rainforest in Puerto Rico, El Yunque, is the only Subtropical Rainforest in the United States?

The Island

Massive flooding in Puerto Rico

Massive flooding in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO – SEPTEMBER 25 People wraps around the Banco Popular in San Juan as people are desperate to get cash. Nearly one week after hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, residents are still trying to get the basics of food, water, gas, and money from banks. (Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Man escaping the flooding in Puerto Rico

Man escaping the flooding in Puerto Rico

The breaching of the damn in Puerto Pico

Puerto Rico is made up of the large island of Puerto Rico along with the additional smaller island of Mona, Culebra, Vieques, plus some cays and islets. The capital and most populous city is San Juan with over 395,326.  To put that into perspective based on the 2010 census it is larger than New Orleans, Tampa or Pittsburg.  The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has an area of 5,320 square miles.  The island is 110 miles long, and 40 miles wide. Ricardo Rossello, Puerto Rico’s Governor estimated damages will be north of $8 billion from Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

I thank God that the cruise line industry has responded to the cry for help from Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.  Although there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.  The cruise lines have provided valuable relief.  Royal Caribbean’s Adventures of the Seas will dock today October 3, 2017, in Ft. Lauderdale with refugees from St. Thomas and Puerto Rico.  October 3, 2017, is also the day that President Trump is expected to visit Puerto Rico to see the devastation first hand which is required under Federal law to provide emergency relief funds.  The date the storm hit Puerto Rico was September 20, 2017.  

Where you can donate:

  • Hurricane Maria Children’s Relief Fund: When you donate to Save the Children’s Hurricane Maria relief, you’re providing critical aid to children and families who need it most, so they can survive this crisis, recover from their losses and rebuild their lives.
  • United for Puerto Rico: United for Puerto Rico is an initiative brought forth by the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló, in collaboration with the private sector, with the purpose of providing aid and support to those affected in Puerto Rico by the passage of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane María. 100% of the proceeds will go to helping the victims affected by these natural disasters in Puerto Rico.
  • Hurricane Maria Community Recovery Fund: The devastating effects of hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico are still unfolding, but one thing is certain—the island’s most vulnerable communities are likely to be pummeled the hardest and face the longest road to recovery.
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Bill Collins

Bill Collins is a former Army Officer turned veteran traveler. I have traveled to 28 different Countries mainly concentrated in the Central & Latin America and have spent the last 16 years exploring the Caribbean Islands.

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