Caribbean Matters: Over a year after Fiona, one key factor is blocking much-needed aid

Caribbean Matters: Over a year after Fiona, one key factor is blocking much-needed aid

What news have you read about post-Hurricane Fiona recovery in Puerto Rico? Probably not much, if any. The fast-moving pace of news coverage here in the States hops from disaster to disaster, from war to war, through and around sports, political events, and entertainment. Any news can grow cold, stale, and forgotten almost immediately after it trends, but Puerto Rico generally gets short shrift in mainland coverage—unless it’s a major disaster.

Yet, as seen with Hurricane Maria in 2017, followed by Fiona in 2022, soon after catastrophic events, there is little or no coverage. It often feels like mainland residents are reminded Puerto Rico exists only whenever someone wants to point to Donald Trump lobbing paper towels into a crowd post-Maria.  

The brutal reality for residents in so many areas? The recovery process has not been completed, and in others, it hasn’t even started. Even major Puerto Rican news outlets aren’t tracking the ongoing situation for the island’s poorer sectors.

Awareness of Puerto Rico news is made even more difficult because the vast majority of news from the island, in print and televised, is in Spanish, which naturally excludes non-Spanish-speaking or -reading audiences. Those audiences include a significant percentage of second- and third-generation Latinos, as well as a big chunk of mainland Puerto Ricans.

Thanks to the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (Center for Investigative Journalism) in Puerto Rico, we do have news of key obstacles facing people on the island who have been prevented from receiving post-Fiona governmental aid—all due to their homes not having street numbers.

Caribbean Matters is a weekly series from Daily Kos. If you are unfamiliar with the region, check out Caribbean Matters: Getting to know the countries of the Caribbean.

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