Weekly Update #3 From Puerto Rico

Since the first and longer post is no longer a Sticky, I’ve asked Astrid (@artistikem) in Puerto Rico to submit a weekly update on relief efforts and the status of things there. Each of these Updates will be a Sticky for a week. Let’s help end the misery down there. Scroll down one for each day’s new posts (if any).

On Saturday, January 20th my ex-husband got power back at his house. He lives in Río Piedras, one of the capital’s (San Juan) most densely populated areas yet he’d been without power since hurricane Irma. That’s 137 days living without power in an urban area.

Even then, he’s one of the lucky ones. Thousands are still without power and patience is running thin.

However, there’s a crisis I want to highlight in this update: pets. I’ve mentioned it before but I was handing over supplies to a rescuer friend the other day (got her some puppy milk and Nutrical) and she pointed out not only how worse the abandoned pet numbers have gotten but how many of these cases were in such bad shape. News about pets being burned alive, beaten and left to die, emaciated to the verge of death, and even one who was sexually assaulted, are becoming part of our daily news cycle.

Evelyn, the woman who runs the animal sanctuary near where I live, tells me about new cases every time I deliver donations to her and how their vet bills have risen due to this. She has no space for new pets and has been struggling to get food for her animals but, even then, she won’t turn her back on the ones that are literally thrown out like garbage bags at the sanctuary’s entrance and the odd case she finds on her feeding routes.

Rescue organizations like Rabito Kontento went out right after the emergency to help communities by delivering supplies that included dog and cat food, as well as veterinarians who’d check on people’s pets, no charge. Some of these vets had damage to their clinics and have been dealing with inventory shortages. More info: https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/180201e.aspx

We need help for the animals as much as we need help for people. Four big employers in the island announced lay-offs this past week, along with many small businesses having to shut down, which translates into thousands of people lining up for unemployment. And, sadly, what trickles down in this economy is only misery.

Those leaving are not just escaping destroyed homes, they are also fleeing a shattered economy. Nearly four months after the storms, many restaurants, stores and offices remain closed – either because of structural damage or the financial hardship of operating on generators. Most hotels are operating with reduced personnel serving only FEMA workers, and some, like El Conquistador in Fajardo, have laid off almost all their workers. Just last week, Walmart, the largest private employer on the island, announced it was closing three of its Sam’s Club stores, including one that had not opened since the storm. Meanwhile pharmaceuticals, which account for nearly half the manufacturing jobs on the island, are carefully weighing their options after the GOP tax bill treated Puerto Rico as a foreign jurisdiction, despite its status as a US territory. (https://dailytimes.com.pk/185999/us-will-replace-immigrant-workers-puerto-ricans/)

Our government is still doing very little for the people and now with FEMA having declined the loan we so much needed (https://theintercept.com/2018/01/18/puerto-rico-trump-administration-tells-its-too-rich-for-aid-money/) this is taking a turn for the worse. We’re doing everything we can to help each other and that is why I keep writing these updates, because we really need your help.

If you want information about organizations helping animals, feel free to shoot me an email at artistikem@gmail.com or a message through any of my social media channels and I will point you in the right direction.

If you’d like to donate to my relief effort, here’s how to:

Amazon wish-list: http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/3T4USG7ULMQN2
Amazon gift cards: artistikem@gmail.com
PayPal: artistikem@gmail.com
Mail: Artistikem PO BOX 7225 Caguas PR 00726-7225
ATH Móvil: 787-366-5068

Thank you.

Previously here:

Puerto Rico And America’s House Of Cards
Weekly Update #1 From Puerto Rico
The Post-Maria Horror In Puerto Rico Continues
Third Update From Puerto Rico
Don’t Forget Puerto Rico Or Its Abandoned Pets
Puerto Rico Is Still In Trouble
Second Update From Puerto Rico
An Update From Puerto Rico
Amazon Wish List For Hurricane Maria Relief In Puerto Rico

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