Disaster and the Need to do Better

At the behest of the governor of Puerto Rico, a new study into the carnage wrought by Hurricane Maria was conducted by researchers at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. And unfortunately, it provided a more grisly view than many could have fathomed. According to the new analysis, some 2,975 residents of Puerto Rico perished as a result of the storm.

Envision for a minute, a comparably-sized scenario in which San Diego County is struck by a horrendous natural disaster. Image, if you can, the whole of that county, its infrastructure and its landscape, ravaged. More jarring yet, try to see scores of its populace methodically wiped out by the unshackled cruelty of unmitigated desolation.

Recall that Puerto Rico is American soil, and forever remember that each-and-every Puerto Rican is an American citizen. Now ask yourself, how could the most powerful nation in mankind’s history—an economic and industrial giant whose federal government is annually endowed with over $4 trillion—fail not just to safeguard, but to alleviate the prolonged suffering, of our own brothers and sisters.

We cannot, through inefficiency and inadequacy, permit ourselves to fail. Be it Maria, Harvey, Katrina, or Sandy, we need to do better.