It’s easy to become overwhelmed and even desensitized to the horrors that we see flashed before our eyes, seemingly every day, due to natural disasters. The devestation in Puerto Rico is massive and tragic, yet people are not responding the same way they would if Hurricane Maria hadn’t happened so soon after Harvey and Irma tore through Texas and Florida.
I’m going to try not to get political here and talk about the embarrassment and shame that we should all feel as Americans over the way the people of Puerto Rico have been treated. That’s obvious to anyone with an ounce of decency.
However, I fear that the message of how bad things are down there is simply not being taken seriously. When folks who should know better are cracking jokes, acting like everything is fine, and even telling outright lies about it, we need to expose the truth.
Ray Flores is an online toy-collecting friend of mine of many years. He’s probably the world’s top authority on Ideal’s Super-Queens, the fashion doll line that complemented Captain Action. After being out of contact with the world for two weeks, he finally got this text to one of our mutual friends, who shared it in a Captain Action mailing list, “Hi …barely get signal …comes and goes…we got hit hard…going through a lot…no food…no power…barely water…long lines for gas and food markets…once there…nothing left…no banks opened…almost no money…hospitals in need of meds…plasma…insulin and dialysis…dead animals everywhere…houses lost roofs….thank goodness mine is made of bricks…but this is all like the end of the world…not even trees as most were pulled from the ground… seldom internet signal….this is terrible….sorry for mentioning all this…but its all so depressing…. I cant get enough signal to txt anything there….thanks my friend….and take care..”
Understand, the reason the official death toll is so low is because there aren’t enough aid workers to count the bodies piling up in the morgues. Without vital meds, more people will die. One hospital lost sixteen patients on ventilators because they had no power. This is indeed a disaster on par with Hurricane Katrina, and the government response has been almost as inadequate.
The potential exists for thousands of more people to perish in the coming days and weeks if emergency aid does not speed up dramatically.
The reason I’m sharing this here in PopCult today, rather than a book review or news about toys or music, is because this is simply more important. You can still help. One reliable charity, one which does not waste all the money donated to them on fundraising activities, is Operation USA. You can donate via credit card through their secure server, and you can opt-out of any further contact. You also have the option to direct your donation to specific disaster areas.
You can also donate blood, if you’re able, to the Red Cross. It may not go directly to Puerto Rico, but with the disasters in Texas and Florida, and the attack in Las Vegas I’m sure that stocks are low all over the country, and they can use all the blood that they can get.
There are other organizations that can use your help. Local churches and non-profits may be asking for donations. Remember that cash is better than physical objects. It might make you feel good to donate a 12-pack of Bounty paper towels, but it’s going to take a lot of money and effort to transport it to an Island out in the Atlantic Ocean. If you can give money, do so. Don’t just be a spectator. Do something to help.
If all you can do is get the word out, do that. Do not remain silent and do not let anyone forget that this is an emergency and they need help now. This is not over. People can still be saved.