“How were we not included?”: Rural Puerto Ricans struggle to get help after hurricane | Puerto Rico

Six days after Hurricane Fiona Puerto RicoAnd Alexis and Roberto Nunez still don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

The couple, whose home in Arecibo was inundated during a storm, relies on a neighbor’s cooking and some government-delivered canned goods to make ends meet.

Nunez woke up to a flooded house on the day of the storm, and stood to find water up to her waist.

She and her husband saw the rescuers from afar and screamed until they were rescued. They were later taken to a shelter, and then stayed with their daughter for two days, since there was no electricity or water.

“I’m just grateful to be alive,” Alexiz said. “My throat hurts so much from all the screaming.”

Doubt is over Food, Drinking Water and Energy Recovery The most severe is in areas far from the island’s capital, San Juan.

Residents of the southern and western part of the island of 3.3 million people complain of feeling neglected in efforts to bring facilities back to their homes. Nearly 63% of 1.47 million customers remain Friday without electricityWhile more than 358,000 customers remained without water.

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday approved a disaster Advertising For Puerto Rico, giving access to individual emergency funds and public assistance to hurricane-affected residents.

To the people of Puerto Rico who are still reeling from Hurricane Maria 5 years later:
 
We are with you now and going forward.
And we will get through this together. pic.twitter.com/K3Zzlp9p82

— President Biden (@POTUS) September 23, 2022

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To the people of Puerto Rico who are still suffering from Hurricane Maria after 5 years:

We are with you now and we are moving forward.
We will overcome this together. pic.twitter.com/K3Zzlp9p82

– President Biden (POTUS) September 23, 2022

But the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides individual assistance Available To only 55 out of 78 municipalities.

Cabo Rojo, a municipality in southern Puerto Rico that was hard hit by the storm, was not included in the list.

On top of the typhoon, the island’s southwest coast continues to suffer damage from major earthquakes in 2020. Aid disbursement was delayed after the pandemic began soon after. Guánica, Lajas and Arecibo, where the Núñezes belong, were also excluded from the list.

Loíza, a town in the northeast of the island that also suffered significant flooding, was not included among the towns where individual emergency funding could be granted. Giulia Nazario Fuentes expressed her frustration on social media, reminding people that some communities are still underwater.

“There are still people who cannot leave their homes,” said Nazario Fuentes. tweet Thursday. Furthermore, they exclude the municipalities that have suffered damages. unacceptable!”

Satellites Pictures From space released Thursday showing the metropolitan area of ​​Puerto Rico with lights, while most of the island is without electricity.

Thursday, Sept 22, 2:27AM, Large swaths of Puerto Rico's western and southern coasts are still dark, from Hatillo to Aguadilla and Guayanilla to Cabo Rojo. One million subscribers still do not have electricity. #huracánFiona #LasImagenesNoMienten https://t.co/alMJDsC13H pic.twitter.com/y6G6iqSj4T

— Miguel O. Román (@DrMiguelRoman) September 22, 2022

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Some people on social media describe efforts to restore power as “metrocentrist“.

according to Report Published this week by the United States Commission on Civil Rights, after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, it discriminated against the disabled, the low-income and those who did not speak English.

The document states that after the Category 5 hurricane hit the island, Fima received more than 1.1 million applications for housing assistance in Puerto Rico, but declined 60% due to problems with title documents. The Committee emphasized that there were no laws in Puerto Rico that required owners to register their property.

Five years later, some of the same problems the US mainland faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria emerged after Category 1 Hurricane Fiona hit the island last Sunday.

People are dying in the aftermath of the last storm. A 70-year-old man died in Arecibo after his emergency generator exploded on Monday. She was a woman in San Sebastian burnt to death on Tuesday after a lit candle caused a fire in her home.

Diesel, which powers many generators, including in supermarkets, is also hard to come by, and companies are scrambling to work amid long lines at gas stations and low supplies.

Energy restored at a gas station in Yabucoa that delivers gasoline and other fuels throughout Puerto Rico ThursdayThe government expects fuel distribution to return to normal.

“We have food and water at the moment, but the situation could get worse if the electricity doesn’t come back soon or if we don’t get diesel” and the food industry distribution, Manuel Reyes Alfonso, executive vice president of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Marketing, said Friday.

The couple in Arecibo said they would not try to go to the supermarket, expecting long lines and limited supplies. They lost their fridge during the flood, and found it almost useless to buy any produce if they couldn’t keep it in the fridge.

Nunesis removed all the rubble from their home, and they slept on the floor Thursday night.

Because of the flooding, a representative from the Ministry of Housing told the couple that their home was not going through an inspection and they should start looking for a new home. They had hoped for help from Fema, but found out on Thursday that Arecibo residents were not among those eligible for individual assistance, they said.

“As someone who has lost everything, affected by a hurricane, how can we possibly be left out?” Alexis said. “A lot of people in Arecibo have lost everything – I’m not the only one.”

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