By Alex D’Angelo || Contributing Writer
For the last month or so hurricanes have been a constant threat on the coasts of Texas, Florida and almost all of the Caribbean. The first major hurricane of this year was Hurricane Harvey which tore through Texas, in particular Corpus Christi, leaving a path of destruction that will cost millions of dollars to repair. Hurricane Irma immediately followed with its path hitting Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico and The Bahamas before crashing straight into Florida starting at The Keys and making its way north towards South Carolina. The media, however, enhanced the strength of Hurricane Irma because it weakened greatly by the time it reached Florida. Hurricane Maria is the Hurricane that is currently damaging areas in the Caribbean not even a week after Irma hit.
Hurricane Maria is no laughing matter. The hurricane already raged through Puerto Rico, Dominica, Guadalupe, and many other small islands in the Caribbean. The current death toll from the storm is 20 but many say that that number will only rise due to lingering flash floods and storm surges in these areas. The hurricane is now a Category 3 storm and expected not to hit the United States but rather to go out to sea.
Hurricane Maria is just one of the latest casualties from this year and more hurricanes are to be expected in the Atlantic until mid-late October. Climate change is a big reason why these storms are becoming more destructive. With climate change comes a rise in sea water which makes the storm surges much larger and comparable to many tsunami’s.
The most unfortunate part about all of this is that the Trump Administration is considering a drastic cut in Federal Relief Funds which is what we desperately need more of in this day in age. Included in this budget cut would be a loss $667 million for FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, which coordinates with state government to provide help and aid in disaster-stricken areas. The National Flood Insurance Program would lose about $190 million and the National Weather Service would lose $62 million. This may already seem like a lot but there are at least a dozen other organizations that would lose millions due to this budget cut.
It’s a shame that we are headed in such an opposite direction with this issue. We’ve seen the damages that these storms have caused so this proposed budget cut shouldn’t even be up for debate. For those who still haven’t seen the capabilities of these storms, Hurricane Maria should be a wakeup. Considering that the majority of Puerto Rico is without power right now, we need to be creating more funds not lessening them. If the Federal Relief Funds get cut then we will be struggling to protect ourselves during these storms and helping our neighbors down south will no longer be an option.
With all of these storms happening one after another we need to find a way to come together to be able to provide support for those dealing with the aftermath. We can only do this by continuing to raise these funds.
First-year Alex D’Angelo is a Contributing Writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.