Over the course of a summer, a mind-numbing number of natural disasters have occurred in North American territories. First, Hurricane Harvey swamped the city of Houston, Texas. Next, disaster struck Mexico, the Caribbean, and Florida. Today, northern California is ablaze.
The damage that has taken place over the past few months has been devastating, and storms across the U.S. and its territories have caused alarm and devastation due to the massive toll each have taken.
Many have been critical of the current administration’s actions in administering aid and relief to these areas, arguing that he “lacks empathy.”
“So far he hasn’t provided the emotional connection that many Americans would like to see, such as personally comforting people at their moment of need and citing some of the many cases of heroism by first responders and everyday people helping each other,” writes US News contributor Kenneth T. Walsh.
In addition, Trump has tweeted a number of things that have drawn criticism for a severe lack of empathy, especially in response to Hurricane Maria which devastated Puerto Rico — a U.S. territory.
“Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble,” he mentioned in one tweet.
“People don’t have drinking water. [But] we’ve delivered tremendous amounts of water,” Trump mentioned more recently in a press conference. “What you have to do, you have to have distribution of the water, but by the people on the island. We have massive amounts of water. We have massive amounts of food. But they have to distribute it. They have to do it. They have to distribute the food to the people on the island. What we’ve done, we now have military distributing food, something that really they shouldn’t have to be doing.”
Despite fumbles from the administration to address all of these issues, it’s worth noting that communities have banded together in the wake of multiple humanitarian crises.
One private care facility in Houston organized local drives to help those displaced and struggling in their community. Others have organized efforts via Amazon to ship needed supplies to Puerto Rico. Professionals, such as doctors, healthcare workers, and social workers have also come together to use their skills in helping aid those affected by these natural disasters.
It’s this kind of community reliance and compassion that will become necessary in years to come.
“We’ve already seen supposedly ‘once-in-every-500-years events’ like the devastating floods in Louisiana happening with shocking frequency,” note the public health experts at University of Nevada Reno. It’s clear that if nothing is done to combat the effects of climate change these disasters will only continue to occur.