ONE YEAR AFTER…

ONE YEAR AFTER…

September 22, 2018 at 4:30 am

One year has passed since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, but the search for answers and solutions still continues. We’re on the case.

Aired on September 21, 2018.

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ALMOST EXACTLY ONE YEAR AGO
TODAY HURRICANE MARIA SLAMMED
INTO PUERTO RICO.
AS A RESULT, THE ISLAND'S
ALREADY CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE
WAS CRIPPLED WITH RESIDENTS LEFT
IN THE DARK FOR MONTHS ON ENDED,
DECIMATED HOUSES, LACK OF CLEAN
WATER AND SHORTAGE OF FOOD LEFT
THE RESIDENTS REELING AND ONLY
RECENTLY THAT THE ISLAND'S
GOVERNMENT RAISED THE OFFICIAL
DEATH TOLL TO ALMOST 3,000 AFTER
HAVING MAINTAINED THAT ONLY 64
PEOPLE HAD DIED AS A RESULT OF
THE STORM.
BUT PUERTO RICO ALREADY
EXPERIENCING ECONOMIC TURMOIL
BEFORE MARIA MADE LAND FALL, THE
ROAD TO RECOVERY CONTINUES TO BE
COMPLICATED.
SO WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST
REMAINING CHALLENGES ON THE
ISLAND AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE
WAYS TO BEST MEET THOSE
CHALLENGES?
FOR ANSWERS, WE TURN NOW TO
JODIE RORY, SHE IS AN ASSOCIATE
PROFESSOR AT JOHN J. COLLEGE OF
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND THE FOUNDER
OF HURRICANE MARIA AND RELIEF
INSTITUTIONAL ALLIANCE.
PROFESSOR, WELCOME TO THE
PROGRAM.
>> THANK YOU.
>> SO PROFESSOR, YOU WERE IN
PUERTO RICO WHEN MARIA HIT.
SO TELL US, WHAT MEMORIES OF
THAT EXPERIENCE LINGER IN YOUR
MIND?
WHAT HAS STUCK?
WHAT CAN'T YOU SHAKE OFF FROM
THAT EXPERIENCE?
>> I CAN'T EVEN TELL YOU OF THE
MANY THINGS I CAN'T FORGET.
IT IS ONE OF THE WORST
EXPERIENCES OF MY LIFE.
AS ESPECIALLY TO SEE PEOPLE
DYING.
THAT WAS JUST ABSOLUTELY
HORRIFIC.
IT REALLY LOOKED LIKE AN
ARMAGEDDON HAD A HERO IROSHIMA
HIT THE ISLAND.
I'M IN THE APARTMENT, MY
APARTMENT HERE IN PUERTO RICO
WHERE THE HURRICANE JUST
DEVASTATED THIS AREA AS WELL.
AND I HAD TO SEEK REFUGE AT A
FRIEND'S HOUSE.
I REMEMBER BEING LOCKED UP WITH
MY TWO CHILDREN.
THEY'RE A SET OF TWINS.
THEY'RE 12 YEARS OLD.
AND TO EXPLAIN TO YOUNG CHILDREN
THAT SCREECHING SOUNDS AND ALL
OF THE EXPLOSIVE SOUNDS THAT WE
WERE HEARING THROUGH OUR WINDOW
THAT I WAS GOING TO KEEP THEM
SAFE AND TRYING TO CONVINCE
MYSELF I WAS GOING TO KEEP
MYSELF SAFE, AND PEOPLE I WAS
WITH SAFE.
AND TRYING TO MAKE THAT A
REALITY FOR MY CHILDREN KNOWING
ALL ALONG I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS
GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME.
>> SO WHEN ONE YOU'RE AFTER
MARIA, WHAT IS THE SITUATION ON
THE ISLAND?
>> SO UNFORTUNATELY, THE
SITUATION ON THE ISLAND REMAINS
A LITTLE BIT BETTER THAN IT WAS
POSTMA REEA.
BUT IT STILL REMAINS DEVASTATED.
AND I WANT TO TELL YOU THAT WE
NEED HELP.
AND DESPITE WHATEVER ANYBODY
ELSE TELLS YOU, WE NEED HELP AND
WE NEED HELP NOW.
THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT STILL DO
NOT HAVE ELECTRICITY.
THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT DO NOT
HAVE ACCESS TO CLEAN WATER.
THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT NEED FOOD.
THEY DON'T HAVE MEALS.
WE HAD A RECENT STUDY THAT SHOWS
THAT OUR FOOD INSECURITY AND OUR
HUNGER RATE IN PUERTO RICO IS
HIGHER THAN HAS EVER BEEN
BEFORE.
THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT
EMPLOYED.
THERE IS A LACK OF JOBS.
WE HAVE A BOARD THAT HAS A LOT
OF CONSTRAINTS ON THE
GOVERNMENT, THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT
HERE.
THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT ARE
HOMELESS.
THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT ARE
WORKING HOMELESS WHICH IS
REALLY, REALLY SAD.
>> AS YOU KNOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP
RECENTLY SAID THAT THE U.S.
RESPONSE TO HURRICANE MAE REEA
IS ONE OF THE BEST JOBS THAT'S
EVER BEEN DONE.
THAT SOUNDS LIKE THAT IS NOT
ACCURATE.
>> THAT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT
ACCURATE.
I WISH THAT IT WAS.
AND I TWHASH I WASN'T HERE
HAVING THIS CONVERSATION WITH
YOU AND I WISH I WASN'T HERE
LATE LAST NIGHT DRIVING IN TOTAL
DARKNESS AFTER MEETING WITH 90
DOCTORS TO TALK TO THEM ABOUT
WHAT WE WERE ABLE TO BE ABLE TO
PROVIDE FOR THEM TO HELP OUR
PEOPLE WHO ARE U.S. CITIZENS ON
THE ISLAND OF PUERTO RICO.
SO I WANT TO SAY YES, THAT'S NOT
AN ACCURATE STATEMENT.
I PERSONALLY AM VERY PRIVILEGED
TO HAVE BEEN IN PUERTO RICO AREA
THAT DIDN'T SUFFER AS MUCH
DEVASTATION AS THE MOUNTAINOUS
REGIONS.
EVEN THEN, BEING NEXT TO THE
HOTEL AND INTERCOULDN'T NENTAL
WHERE A LOT OF THE WORKERS WERE,
WE NEVER SAW ANY AID.
SO IF I'M IN A METROPOLITAN AREA
AND I DIDN'T SEE AID, I THINK
THAT IS A PROBLEM.
I'M NOT SAYING THAT THERE AREN'T
GREAT FEMA SOLDIERS.
AND THERE AREN'T PEOPLE IN FEMA
THAT WANT TO HELP.
THAT'S NOT WHAT I'M SAYING.
WHAT I AM SAYING IS THE RESPONSE
WAS TOTAL LYN ADEQUATE.
>> OKAY.
SO INTRODUCTION
OF THE MARIA INSTITUTIONAL
ALLIANCE WLACHLT IS THE MISSION
OF THE ALLIANCE AND WHO IS
INVOLVED IN IT?
>> RIGHT.
SO WE HAVE A GREAT GROUP OF
PEOPLE THAT ARE INVOLVED IN OUR
ALLIANCE.
I WAS ABLE TO RECRUIT THE MOST
AMAZING DOCTORS AND NURSES
THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE UNITED
STATES COULD COME BACK ON A
THING THAT WAS REALLY SUPPORTED
JETBLUE.
WE BROUGHT MEDICINE AND DOCTORS
AND DID A MEDICAL BRIGADE.
WHAT WE DID IS VERY HOLISTIC.
WE WORKED WITH THE EXISTING
BRIGADES IN THE ISLAND IN A VERY
ANTI-COLONIAL WAY SAYING WHAT
CAN WE DO TO HELP YOU?
WE WORKED WITH THE GOVERNMENT.
WE ASKED THEM TO CERTIFY OUR
DOCTORS SO WE CAN HAVE DOCTORS
THAT WERE CERTIFIED TO PRACTICE
MEDICINE.
AND WE WERE ABLE TO HELP MANY,
MANY PEOPLE BY BRINGING
MEDICATION, MEDICAL RELIEF, FOOD
AND WATER TO PUERTO RICO.
>> THE HELP YOU NEED, SOMEBODY
VIEWING RIGHT NOW, WHAT CAN WE
DO?
>> GO TO OUR WEBSITE,
WWW.HURRICANEMARIAINC.WEEBLI.COM
.
THAT WILL LINK YOU TO OUR SITES.
WE HAVE A PROJECT THAT WE'RE
WORKING WITH THE AMERICAN
COLLEGE OF SURGEONS OPERATION
GIVING BACK.
THEY WILL PROVIDE FREE SURGICAL
CARE TO PEOPLE UNINSURED ON THE
ISLAND.
THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WE'RE
GOING TO BE ROLLING OUT AT THE
AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS
MEETING IN OCTOBER IN BOSTON.
SO PLEASE LOOK OUT FOR THAT.
>> ALL RIGHT.
PROFESSOR, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
JOINING US TODAY AND FOR ALL THE
WORK YOU'RE DOING.
THE DIFFICULT SITUATION.
THANKS FOR YOUR EFFORTS.
>> THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.
WE THANK YOU FOR BRINGING
ATTENTION TO THE U.S. CITIZENS
IN ARE PUERTO RICO.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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