The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced yesterday evening that, as of tomorrow, Puerto Rico will be cut off from deliveries of food and water.
The agency announced that it will hand off all remaining supplies to Puerto Rican authorities and then end their mission to the island.
Some on the island believe it's too soon to end these deliveries given that a third of residents still lack electricity and, in some places, running water, but FEMA says its internal analytics suggest only about 1 percent of islanders still need emergency food and water. The agency believes that is a small enough number for the Puerto Rican government and nonprofit groups to handle. [...]
"If we're giving free water and food, that means that families are not going to supermarkets to buy," [local FEMA director Alejandro De La Campa] said. "It is affecting the economy of Puerto Rico. So we need to create a balance. With the financial assistance we're providing to families and the municipalities, they're able to go back to the normal economy."
You know, it's difficult to "go back to the normal economy" when you have no electricity and/or running water. And Puerto Rico's "normal economy" wasn't even normal by most standards.
And in any case -- holy shit -- why are we worried about patronizing the supermarket like good capitalist consumers when most of the island was obliterated?
If it's true that only 1 percent of the island still requires emergency food and water, it may (or may not) be appropriate to end the agency's mission, but I personally have little faith that that's an accurate number. Analytics can't tell you the whole story in sports or in disaster relief.
Some of the worst stories of Hurricane Katrina emerged in the years that followed the storm and that could be the case here as well. In both cases, the victims are predominately people of color.