Puerto Rico is in a dire state of emergency after Hurricane Maria and we're running against time. With over half the island in a disastrous state and still without clean water and electricity, or their basic needs being met, people are dying. We're also running against time because we only have a few months before the temperature climbs back into the 90s and people are being humiliated, forced to sit in damaged homes with no roof, no water, no electricity, and no food. Rations have been boxes of candy with no meals to sustain and no rebuilidng efforts. There are elderly people, sick and disabled people, and children who need our help and the mercy of our government now.
We make an urgent and dire request to Congress to immediately act today to:
1. Demand FEMA immediately send the manpower and resources to rebuild the island, i.e., electricity and better power grids, technology that's not exposed to the elements, repair the roads, better telephone and cable lines, storm proof housing, rebuilt homes - - not just temporary tarps, businesses up and running, and water back on. We're asking that you allow for business grants so that legitimate companies that want to help can send workers and supplies to immediately rebuild and show proof of their work. Please allow for cruise lines that want to house people temporarily or transport people to the island to help with relief efforts.
2. Immediate cancellation of Puerto Rico’s $73 billion debt with no negative repercussions. An immediate end of the Whitefish, LLC, electricity restoration project in which they are saying they are now owed $83 million. We want this account balance to reflect $0 due to the island and its people.
3. Pass a significant relief and recovery package that will allow for grants (that do not have to be repaid) for all residents and citizens on the island to help them with their rebuilding efforts whether they own homes or rent them, and to those in temporary shelters and those that have been forced to evacuate the island. To allow for the temporary act that people who had jobs can request to receive back pay from the time of the storm to the present date even if they have been unable to go back to work, i.e., if the company or business is still closed due to damage.
4. To immediately end to the Jones Act to help Puerto Rico receive the relief aid it needs from cargo ships as this is an immediate crisis and a sense of urgency is needed in the rebuilding process now.
5. An apology from the U.S. government to the island of Puerto Rico for not assisting sooner and for not acting faster. Please respect the people of Puerto Rico. These are our family members, our friends, retired veterans, and these are fellow Americans.
6. For FEMA to work with local businesses and churches to help with the rebuilding efforts, i.e., Hand of Hope, Samaritan's Purse, Habitat for Humanity, and the many military members, and volunteers that want to visit the island and help rebuild and repair it. Let the volunteers be allowed free flights to/from the island for rebuilding efforts and temporary shelters to allow for schools and businesses that want to help.
7. For massive relief resources to arrive from businesses like Lowe's, Home Depot, and other companies that can provide temporary shelters immediately, i.e., temporary trailers with running water, electricity, and air conditioning while the homes, churches, schools, and businesses are being rebuilt.
We are one nation under God. Government officials, please show humanity now when it's needed most. Please soften your hearts and do it not just for the people of Puerto Rico, but the elderly and the children. We're asking for your mercy in this petition. We're asking for you to please act right now and please help us rebuild and fully restore Puerto Rico.