View all Articles
Commentary By Nicole Gelinas

The Help Puerto Rico Needs Now — and What It Doesn't

As Hurricane Harvey slammed Texas and Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Americans watched to see if their government would do better than after Katrina 12 years ago. But Harvey and Irma were nothing like Katrina. Maria, which slammed the US territory of Puerto Rico last week, is — and now’s America’s chance to show it can do better. One lesson: First aid should be fast; rebuilding prescriptions, slow.

Harvey and Irma were devastating to millions, to be sure. But in Houston, amazingly, the power never went out for most of the city, thanks to upgrades made after previous storms.

“The United States is already doing better than after Katrina in getting food, water, medicine and other critical aid to people fast.”

With power, you have lights — and safety. With power, you can keep hospitals running.

In Florida, the power did go out. But Florida has a strong power grid, whose owners invested heavily to make it even stronger after past storms.

Florida Power Light, which serves half the state, told its customers before Irma hit that it had put $3 billion into the system over the past 12 years to make it better able to resist flood and wind. Those upgrades helped it to restore power to “essentially all” its customers within 10 days.

Puerto Rico is different. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló says power will be out for weeks or months.

Puerto Rico can get some power much faster, and already is. Big generators combined with the hundreds of electric-industry workers who are already descending from the mainland with emergency equipment can likely re-power critical sites in days, and major population centers in days or weeks.

Read the entire piece here at the New York Post


Nicole Gelinas is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor at City Journal. Follow her on Twitter here.

This piece originally appeared in New York Post