Last week Puerto Rico experience an island-wide blackout. In some regions, the power outage lasted for four days. Access to energy is essential for many, particularly for elders and people with disabilities or chronic conditions. The fragility of the energy grid is one of the consequences of neglected disasters. The impact of austerity joined that of major hurricanes. Privatization and negligent management, speculation, and resistance to adopt a climate justice perspective on energy have aggravated the crisis. Three months before the hurricane season starts, we see the phantom of neglect everywhere. With thousands of houses under blue tarps five years after María, only a few thousand families have received adequate assistance to repair or rebuild their houses, and with a worsening tendency to displacement, we need to call the government to act now.
While we reiterate our demands of just recovery, we start our disaster readiness journey this month. We will be training lawyers, housing counselors, community leaders, and social workers on the essential legal tools they need to accompany survivors after an emergency. We hope that this workshop will pave the way to reinforce community protocols, given the lack of official plans to prevent, mitigate and attend crises.
Disasters may not be fashionable at this moment. When crises occur, there is a window of support and solidarity that closes too soon, although essential and life-saving. The sequels of disasters - the aggravated precarity- are often unseen. Supporting and donating to Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico and this project shifts that narrative and promotes long-term recovery and climate justice. Donate now. We can do more.