Day after horror filled day, Puerto Rican’s continue to suffer and die in a humanitarian crisis brought about by Hurricane Maria’s 155 mph winds. Along with her other weapons, such as rainfall and storm surge, the climate change enhanced wind storm has brought the island to it’s knees. The federal response appears to me as purposeful neglect of 3.5 million American citizens. The recovery debacle is more than incompetence, but rather a result of Trump’s petty and vindictive cruelty to anyone that is not white, or who has even slightly criticized the federal response to this catastrophe.  But In a meeting with Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rossello, in the Oval Office on Thursday. Trump gave himself a grade of 10.


“They got hit by a Category 4, grazed, but grazed about, you know, a big portion of the island. … That was bad, but then they got hit dead center, if you look at those maps, by a Category 5.  adding “Nobody’s ever heard of a five hitting land. Usually by that time, it’s dissipated. It hit right through. It kept to a five. It hit right through the middle of the island, right through the middle of Puerto Rico. There’s never been anything like that. I give ourselves a 10.”


What a fucking moron!

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Recently, seven Democratic senators “sent a letter to FEMA administrator Brock Long on Friday, urging the agency to approve funding for Puerto Rico to rebuild roads, fix the electric grid and repair other damaged infrastructure”.

Alexia Fernández Campbell of Vox writes  (in a updated post dated 10-16-17).


Permanent Work funding from FEMA is the main source of federal assistance to help a community repair and rebuild its public infrastructure after a natural disaster, and there should be absolutely no ambiguity that the federal government intends to provide this crucial assistance to help Puerto Rico build back after Hurricane Maria," they wrote.



It's unclear why FEMA hasn't yet authorized what is known as C-G public assistance. Two weeks ago, a FEMA spokesperson in Puerto Rico told Vox that the island "was well on its way" to getting this aid, though he didn't say how soon. FEMA approved this type of reconstruction aid for the US Virgin Islands two weeks after Maria hit; and it was approved for Texas ten days after Harvey.


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President Trump could speed up the process if he cared to. The Stafford Act, which gives FEMA authority to carry out emergency missions, also gives the president broad discretion in guiding the agency's efforts: The president “may provide accelerated federal assistance and federal support where necessary to save lives, prevent human suffering, or mitigate severe damage” even without “a specific request.”



If Trump wanted to, in other words, he could fast-track FEMA's response in Puerto Rico. Instead, he has repeatedly suggested that Puerto Rico does not deserve the same level of disaster response that the federal government is giving to others:


Eric Adams of The Drive reports on entrepreneur Joel Ifill who arrived in Puerto Rico two weeks ago. Adams wrote that Ifil’s was to “utilize his company’s burgeoning skills in cargo logistics to see if they could help by air-dropping supplies to the most remote parts of the island, and to further develop—through first-hand experience—the systems necessary to one day do that with drones”.


The idea, of course, would seem like a no-brainer. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology is developing as fast as any other high-tech field, with the likes of Amazon and Google leading the charge on the commercial side and the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines pushing just as hard on the military side. But at the moment—thanks to FAA regulations that limit their use and testing—there are no unmanned systems that can help deliver critical supplies to areas in urgent need. They need to come via truck, or if the roads are out, helicopter—assuming those are even available and there are landing sites. Either option is expensive, slow, manpower-intensive, and unreliable.



But Ifill’s startup, DASH Systems—he’s CEO—is working to develop a solution that uses precision-guided package delivery technology to quickly and economically distribute food, water, and other essentials with pinpoint accuracy. In his vision, emergency supplies would be loaded into small disposable containers that can be dropped out of manned aircraft and automatically steered to their destinations via control surfaces on the tail assembly. Each of these devices—he hasn’t released photos yet, but they look basically like squat little bombs—would then float relatively slowly, thanks to their high-drag shape, to the surface and land lightly. They would be more accurate than parachute-deployed packages and able to guarantee landings within a 30-foot radius—so suitable for everything from mountainous terrain to urban areas.



DASH isn’t far enough along to test actual prototypes in Puerto Rico, so Ifill is using off-the-shelf parachute-deployed containers that he drops out of a small chartered cargo aircraft, a Cessna 208B operated by M&N Aviation in San Juan. He is, however, testing the company’s mission planning software, which itself has helped improve the accuracy of the parachuted air-drops. “We’re able to reach the drop-zone with a bit more accuracy,” Ifill says. “We’ve done two full flights so far, dropping 2,000 pounds of supplies each to three different locations from about 1,000 feet above the ground, with another scheduled for tomorrow. They’re all inland mountain communities that are cut off from the supply sources, but they know we’re coming so they’re able to be ready for the drops."




Yahoo news reports on Monkey Island, an outcropping off the coast of Puerto Rico populated by rhesus macaques and their caretakers.


As Hurricane Maria barreled across the Caribbean one month ago, one of the first places to get caught in the eye of the storm was Cayo Santiago, a small island off Puerto Rico’s southeastern coast that is populated only by monkeys.



These aren’t just any monkeys, however. The 1,000 free-ranging rhesus macaques that make their homes on Cayo Santiago — also known as Monkey Island — inhabit the world’s oldest wild primate research center. Since 1938, when their ancestors were shipped there from Asia, scientists from around the globe have flocked to this tiny island in the Caribbean to study primate behavior, physiology and psychology.



Researchers at Cayo Santiago recorded the sounds made by female macaques and concluded they employed baby talk with infants, behavior that was thought to be exclusively human. Others observed females over long periods to detect subtle changes in skin color correlated with sexual receptivity.



Now an international group of researchers are joining forces to save Monkey Island, and its human caretakers, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, whose 150 mile-per-hour winds whipped across Cayo Santiago and the nearby community of Punta Santiago, home to many of the Caribbean Primate Research Center’s employees and researchers. Though all the monkeys have been accounted for, the hurricane ravaged much of their home territory, as well as that of their human neighbors.


DONATION LINKS

Here’s some great agencies with aid-workers hard at work on the ground in PR right now:

You can donate right to the José Andrés’s Chef’s group at https://www.worldcentralkitchen.org

Hispanic Federation

Americares

Hurricane Maria Community Recovery Fund

Catholic Relief Services Hurricane Relief (Caribbean-wide)

Here is a GoFundMe we can get behind as well. To help those in the most need, celebrities and others started sending their private planes to pick up cancer patients, elderly, people needing medical care, etc.

More donation sites worthy of contributions. Thanks for posting them bfitzinAR

DK ACT BLUE (and other) DISASTER RELIEF DONATION LINKS:

Here’s a link from Bill McKibben for an org to help Puerto Rico:

From Vetwife, Former Presidents Working for All Americans:

Another choice, from Denise Oliver Velez:

  • Unidos Fund, from the Hispanic Federation  (After you click the orange DONATE button on the Unidos page, you’ll see a dropdown below your name & address. You can choose to donate to hurricane relief for PR, and also to Mexican earthquake relief.)

And of course, h/t TexMex: