Puerto Rico is one of my favorite places in the world. On September 20th, Hurricane Maria made landfall with winds of 155 miles an hour, leaving it on brink of a humanitarian crisis. The storm left 80 percent of crop value destroyed, 60 percent of the island without water and almost the entire island without power, as observed in the nighttime satellite images. Puerto Rico is a mess and its residents need our help.
Here’s what you should know:
1. 3.4 million US citizens live in Puerto Rico, and they are entitled to the same government response as any state. But half of Americans don’t even know that. This boggles my imagination—half don’t of main land Americans don’t know that Puerto Ricans are us. And, Puerto Rico is aUnited States commonwealth.
2. Hurricane Maria was massive … it was comparable to a 50-mile-wide tornado that made a direct hit on Puerto Rico. 50 miles!
3. Water, food, and fuel are scarce on the island—very scarce. The airports are a mess. Power will be out for months in some places.
4. Puerto Rico’s economy is in shambles, and the storm will make it worse. The question for many: will it recover?
5. Experts believe the death toll could reach into the many hundreds before it is cleaned up. Only time will tell.
6. The US government is responding to the disaster, but it’s going slow and could do much more to help. President Trump approved a disaster declaration the day after the storm hit, freeing up federal resources for the recovery. Then for several days through the weekend when all hell was breaking loose in Puerto Rico, he remained silent on the issue. Instead, focusing his Twitter feed and a pissing contest with athletes.
A few days later, he broke his silence. Not with the unfolding disaster, but with a series of tweets that focused on Puerto Rico’s recent troubled economic history. Really—how about the need for aid, food, water and the devastation our citizens … people … were experiencing?
7. Other Caribbean islands are hurting, too. The annual PublishingAtSea.com cruise is always in the Caribbean—the Virgin Islands: St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John are common ports. Islands like St. Maarten, St. Kitts and Jamaica
8. We all can help. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and numb in the face of such destruction. A frustrating psychological tendency inside all of us is that when the number of victims in a disaster increase, our compassion doesn’t always rise with it. Whatever you can do to help, do it.
Puerto Rico and its lovely citizens are in trouble. Yes, help Florida and Texas (I’m a Sock Ambassador and sent big boxes of new socks to Texans), but Puerto Rico is in a different and dire situation. They need our relentless support. Please do it. Here’s a partial list of sources.
Here’s how you can help, least in part. Groups like the American Red Cross and Salvation Army have been in play from the beginning—thank you and support them.
Others, like Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, have been taking in ships loaded with food and water to feed and move people—thank you and I’ll cruise with you.
Americares is a nonprofit focused on medicine and health and provides emergency medical supplies and other basic resources to first responders and others. Thank you and support it.
Global Giving is a charity crowdfunding site that is attempting to raise $5 million to be used exclusively for local relief and recovery efforts. As of this writing, it was at $2.7 million—I can support this! You can give as well here.
I’ve played many times in Puerto Rico and loved every minute of it. I’ve marveled at the uniqueness of the island; the variety and breadth of it; and loved the fantastic beaches. I’ve worked there many times with clients. In fact, the third time I presented an all-day conference, the IRS reps showed up—two “suits” and wouldn’t let me leave until I had fully filled out their individual tax returns—and withheld $1,000 from my fee!
Grumbling, because I always reported all income in the U.S. and I knew I would have to have my CPA do the amendments and reclaim the tax payment, I complied. I had a flight that evening to catch. Another time, I was “playing in the ocean” and wondered what was I standing on—it felt funny. Dipping below the surface, I discovered I was standing on an awesome bed of sand dollars—what an amazing find!
For some reason, I never did the tax amendment. I’m glad—and now it’s time to support our fellow, distant countrymen and women. They need your help—financial, prayers and PUSH out our Congress and Senate to get off the dime and do everything to save lives and one of “ours”.
My two bits …
Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and is the Founder of AuthorU.org, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 35 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #35 was published in 2016: How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos. Get your copy now.
Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged, a three-day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2017, the dates are June 22-24th. Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” on the Toginet Network at bit.ly/PublishingShow.
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