Farmers: 'There Is No More Agriculture in Puerto Rico'

Governor declares 'critical disaster' as supplies dwindle
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2017 8:14 AM CDT
'Critical Disaster' in Puerto Rico as Supplies Dwindle
A woman cries after learning about the arrival of the National Guard in Santurce, Puerto Rico, on Sunday to distribute water and food among those affected by Hurricane Maria.   (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

The situation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria isn't getting any better. The Washington Post and New York Times take a look at the devastation, as residents scramble for basic needs like food and water, deal with little to no cash or fuel, and realize the return of electricity and other services is "measured not in days but in weeks and months," the Post notes. Infrastructure, such as airports and ports, has been severely damaged, and farmers say the island's farming industry has been obliterated. "There is no more agriculture in Puerto Rico. And there won't be any for a year or longer," one farmer tells the Times. There's also not enough help from the US feds, partly due to the island's locale. "This is clearly a critical disaster in Puerto Rico," Gov. Ricardo Rossello tells the Post. "It can't be minimized, and we can't start overlooking us now that the storm passed, because the danger lurks."

Rossello isn't understating, especially for the island's most vulnerable. The newspapers document stories of locals who are out of money and down to their last supplies, who've been left with a "shell of a home," and who struggle to keep the sick and elderly safe without medicine and power to run machines like nebulizers. That farmer wasn't far off, either: Per Puerto Rico's agriculture chief, about 80% of the island's crop value was wiped out by the storm. Some are trying to see the silver lining, looking forward to federal funds that can help replace the island's outdated agricultural infrastructure with more efficient systems. But although many are now using the hashtag #yonomequito ("I won't give up") and going to church to give thanks for surviving, the devastation is inescapable. "I could not take seeing my country in pieces like that," one farmer who lost all of his cattle tells the Times. (More Puerto Rico stories.)

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