The left, in their continued bid to make Hurricane Maria into President Trump’s Katrina, have latched onto a report claiming that the death toll from the storm had risen to 2,975. Members of the legacy media are insisting that some burden of responsibility rests with the president and his administration..
The president is not alone in expressing doubts about the accuracy of the report, which was crafted by George Washington University. Liberty Nation’s Joe Schaeffer wrote: “The study has been derided as poor science by critics who see it depending heavily on one variable and then using that thin string as an excuse to estimate increased deaths in the months after the hurricane that cannot be proven to be related to the storm.”
Regardless of the accuracy of the report, it is important to point out that the Trump administration and FEMA are likely not the main cause of these tragic deaths.
Puerto Rico’s Unpreparedness
When natural disasters occur, it is the job of the local governments to make sure that their citizens have access to food and supplies and conduct rescue operations. FEMA’s role is to assist in the delivering of resources and to help in the rescue efforts.
Puerto Rico’s government was not prepared for the arrival of hurricanes Irma and Maria. The island’s governor, Ricardo Rossello, admitted as much when he addressed reporters at a recent press conference. “I agree that we could be and should be more effective on the operational side,” he said. “I agree I made mistakes.
Faulty infrastructure was likely a major contributor to the number of deaths. The island’s electrical grid collapsed when Hurricane Maria made landfall. The collapse caused the longest blackout in United States history. Shortly after the storm passed, the Army Corps of Engineers worked around the clock to restore electricity to the island.
Moreover, the George Washington University report revealed that Puerto Rico’s government did not have a plan for communicating with islanders during the emergency. The Center for Investigative Journalism also found that the health department did not create an emergency plan for hospitals.
The Failure to Distribute Resources
While the lack of an effective electrical grid hampered the relief efforts, the main issue was the fact that Puerto Rico’s government was unable to effectively transport food and supplies to the people. FEMA shipped in a significant amount of resources, but the island’s leadership had trouble transporting them to the people. Left-leaning MSNBC stated that 9,500 containers carrying water, food, and medical supplies were sitting in the port. CNN found that 20,000 pallets of water were still sitting untouched in the bay.
To make matters worse, the island’s truck drivers did not immediately respond after the storm passed — only 20% of drivers showed up to transport supplies in the aftermath of the hurricane. Moreover, the hurricane also took out the majority of Puerto Rico’s cell towers, which made it even more difficult for the authorities to communicate.
Another obstacle to transporting supplies was the poor conditions of the island’s roads. FEMA Spokesman Will Booher said: “With Maria, you had a number of that were completely washed out and bridges that were impacted.”
In an interview with The New York Times, Captain Amado Zudaire described the difficulty in moving supplies. “Some of them had to leave maybe a pallet behind, because they couldn’t fit,” he said. “The more we give them, the tougher it gets on them to deliver.”
However, The Times said that “large enclosed trucks that belong to the Puerto Rico Department of Education were seen sitting unused at the staging area in Cánovanas on Monday.” This is not to say that many members of the island’s government failed to put forth a concerted effort to provide aid to the people. But it is clear that Puerto Rico’s lack of preparedness likely caused a significant number of deaths after the hurricane.
A Cynical Attempt To Slam Trump
FEMA’s operations were not without fault. The agency has admitted that they underestimated the amount of resources they would need to ensure the safety of the victims. However, the left’s willingness to use the deaths of thousands to smear the president reveals the fact that they care more about scoring political points than the victims of Hurricane Maria. To them, it was more important to paint the president as a racist who does not care about the fate of brown people — it’s the most important part of their playbook.
It is important that the American public is given the facts in situations such as these because it is apparent that the fourth estate has no intention of informing them. In fact, they may attempt to use Hurricane Florence to launch similar attacks on the administration. After all, they haven’t gotten very far by telling the truth, have they?
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