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Author: Devorah Levy-Pearlman

Suicides on the rise in Puerto Rico

The aftershocks of Hurricane Maria have not only taken a serious physical toll on the islands, but a psychological one as well. It’s estimated that at least 103 Puerto Ricans have committed suicide since the hurricane hit on September 20 last year. The end of 2017 saw a 29% increase in the incidence of suicides, compared to 2016. While it’s difficult to determine exactly how many of these cases are directly correlated with the aftermath of the destruction, psychologists agree that natural disasters take a big toll on the mental health of a population. Not having electricity, water, or...

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Hurricane Maria worsens flu outbreak in the United States

This past flu season has been a rough one for the US, reaching an unprecedented level of incidence. In January, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that forty-six states, including Puerto Rico, are experiencing widespread flu activity this season. This has left hospitals and medical providers overwhelmed by the demand for appropriate healthcare. Further exacerbating the issue is the ongoing IV bag shortage, which is plaguing hospitals throughout the nation. Between these crises lies an unexpected connection: Hurricane Maria. Little do most Americans know, approximately half of the country’s IV bags are manufactured in Puerto Rico. The...

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Puerto Rico Legislature to focus on police retirement, taxes, and recovery

On January 8, President of the Puerto Rican Senate Thomas Rivera Schatz made an announcement calling for the Upper House to focus their efforts on the Police Retirement System, Tax Reform, and continued post-hurricane reconstruction. Schatz called for legislation to approve the Senate office in Washington, DC in order to increase communication between the territory and the federal capital regarding Puerto Rico’s legislative concerns. Accordingly, the Senate will be in Washington to work on initiatives to benefit the islands. Throughout the month of January, the legislature has continued to address efforts to mitigate post-Maria and Irma damage to the...

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FEMA’s delay in Puerto Rico follows federal pattern of neglect

The delay in granting aid to Puerto Rico was unheard of for FEMA, the nation’s primary federal source for disaster relief. When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas on September 4, FEMA took 10 days to authorize aid to the affected counties. Shortly after, FEMA’s funding to Texas was raised to a near complete subsidy of the needed costs. On September 20, Hurricane Maria violently hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. FEMA took two weeks to authorize all aid to the Virgin Islands, yet it took forty-two days to complete full authorization for aid to Puerto RIco. The hurricane devastated...

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Toll collection, infrastructure and economic development on Puerto Rico Legislature’s agenda

Representative Jose Luis Rivera Guerra introduced a resolution in November 2017 to address inconsistencies in Puerto Rico’s road toll system. Dozens of vehicle owners claim to have received outrageous fines from the toll collection system, the Autoexpreso. Citizens have reported receiving notice of owing up to thousands of dollars in fines. They claim it is an injustice made by a broken system. In conjunction with Rivera’s Resolution 67, Ombudswoman Iris Miriam Ruiz Class seeks to investigate the fine collection process to better understand potential holes cracking open the system. The largest issues being that vehicle owners are not always...

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