It is time to help hurricane victims

Illustration: Madalyn Drewno - CU Sentry


Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Houston, TX on Aug. 25 this year. Many people in the United States stepped up to the plate to help those whose homes were destroyed, but many people couldn’t find it in themselves to help. This simply isn’t appropriate given what had just happened. Not only did many people turn a blind eye, but many were apathetic in addressing Hurricane Irma a week and a half later.

In conversations with neighbors and family friends, many of them said things like, “I just don’t have the money right now.” Or they would say, “I’d love to donate,” but then never did. Why is it that these people who have $500,000+ homes and drive Mercedes Benz’ couldn’t donate? It’s disheartening to think that the same people who go to Hawaii for two weeks and are platinum members at Nordstrom can’t give $5 to help those who’ve lost everything.

Five dollars goes a long way. That’s five cans of soup, five pairs of socks, a pack of Hanes T-shirts, five travel toothbrush packs, a pack of 24 tampons, three sticks of deodorant, four bottles of shampoo, or five packs of ramen noodles. A little bit of money can go a long way. People shouldn’t be embarrassed by what they can’t give, they should be proud of what they can give.

There are also the people who said they didn’t have time to donate because they were too busy with school, but then that weekend hit up Tom’s Urban and bought four drinks. That’s about $24 with tax and tip. Congratulations millennial society, a new low in selfishness has been reached.

For perspective, Hurricane Maria claimed 18 lives in Puerto Rico and left 3.5 million people without power, and it’s expected to take a full year to return power. Fifteen people were killed in Dominica and 73,000 people are facing an extreme food shortage and expected to be homeless in the coming months due to the destruction. Eighty-two died in Hurricane Harvey in Houston, and it’s expected to cost 300 billion to rebuild the city.

More than that, many seemed to be “exhausted” in giving to Hurricane Harvey and couldn’t be bothered to help those preparing for Hurricane Irma. In the time since Hurricane Irma hit, Hurricane Maria has been ravaging the Caribbean; many only feel bad because it tears into their vacation plans for fall and winter breaks, which is completely insensitive and selfish. Citizens affected in the Caribbean have far less to begin with and have lost everything.

In a time when the United States has been ripped apart by racism, political strife, and economic circumstances, why are people continuing not to come together, especially at a time when people are losing everything they own?

Many people have forgotten that the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are indeed US territories. If there is any mistake to be learned from Hurricane Harvey and Irma, it’s that people must do what they can, no matter what it takes.

People in all of these places have been displaced, and that won’t be fixed over time. Hopefully, Americans can come together for these coming reconstruction issues and help those who will continue to be affected.

Illustration: Madalyn Drewno – CU Sentry

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