Nurses returning from Puerto Rico: children cry from hunger

Nurses returning from Puerto Rico: children cry from hunger

The country’s largest Union of nurses has condemned the reaction of the Federal government to a natural disaster in Puerto Rico, stating that the inhabitants of the island «left to die».

Criticized during a speech in Washington by the National Association of nurses (NNU) after returning from a two-week humanitarian mission.

Nurses returning from Puerto Rico: children cry from hunger

As reported by Vox, about 50 nurse volunteers visited two dozen cities in different parts of Puerto Rico and described the despair of the inhabitants of the island. According to the nurses, the picture which they saw to be worse than the consequences of Katrina in New Orleans and the earthquake in Haiti.
According to official data, hurricane Maria claimed the lives of 51 people in Puerto Rico, but this number is far from final, because dozens are unaccounted for, and in some remote areas after five weeks of no electricity and communications.

Nurses spoke about the surgeons who do the operation with lights from mobile phones; the children screaming from hunger; older people suffering from dehydration; and black moldwhich covers the houses.

«We can not remain silent while millions of people survive in such conditions,» said Bonnie Castillo, the Executive Director of NNU.

According to Castillo, the nurses visited towns that do not receive food and water from the Federal emergency management Agency (FEMA). There were communities that received assistance, but too little. A third of the island is still without electricity, in 25% of the residents water supply is restored.

FEMA recognizes that the mission in Puerto Rico was the most difficult logistics in the entire history of the Agency, as was done in extremely difficult conditions. About 16 thousand people went to the island to help, was delivered more than 10 million liters of bottled water. The Agency has allocated us $ 114 million to cover costs for temporary housing as well as 2.3 million dollars in loans to assist in disaster relief to small businesses.

«Part of the problem is that FEMA asks residents to provide them with copies of utility bills and routing numbers payments. Then, you should wait for a response via e-mail or SMS. But most of the people there and documents may be destroyed,» explained Olivia Lynch, a nurse from California, recently returned from Puerto Rico.

Katie Kennedy, a nurse who once worked at the military medical ship USNS Comfort, said could not believe my eyes when I saw that ship moored at the San Juan, leaving empty beds.

«In the meantime, the hospitals on the island could barely cope with the number of patients,» added Katie.

Nurses ask the Republican leaders to increase aid to Puerto Rico, to prioritize and to spend more money to rehabilitate.
«It is our people, and they suffer. We hope that the government that we elected, will work on to change this before it gets too late,» said Kennedy.