The SHTF in Puerto Rico Last Night

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By Daisy Luther

Last night in Puerto Rico, the world as residents knew it, ended.

Hurricane Maria caused so much devastation that there is no telling when electricity will be restored. There is no power on the entire island, casting 3.4 million people back in time by 100 years.

And even worse, 100 years ago, homes were designed to function without electricity. They were designed to have cooking methods that did not require electricity. The architecture was such that windows were placed in prime locations for cross-breezes. People had gardens and fruit trees and they knew how to raise livestock. This is like being thrown back in time with only useless things like laptops and window-unit air conditioners. Many people no longer have the necessary skills to function in this different world.

This is a classic SHTF moment because everything has changed. Finding the basics of survival is now completely different than it was 24 hours ago. Food, water, and shelter will be the primary concern of millions of people.

Surviving the Category 4 hurricane was the easy part. Surviving the aftermath is going to be the real challenge.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about this very issue, stating that when the power went off there, restoring it would be no easy matter. Of course, naysayers told me I was being overly doomy. There is so much cognitive dissonance that most folks simply cannot imagine a way of life that doesn’t include the rapid restoration of electricity, internet, and normalcy. Those people will be in big trouble should such a disaster ever strike mainland America, because they won’t be able to accept the changes and work within their new reality.

The catastrophic damage


Locals describe damage that is positively disastrous in nature.

It ripped apart homes, snapped power lines and turned roadways into torrents laden with debris as it cut a diagonal swath across the island.

The entire island of 3.4 million people was under a flash flood warning early on Thursday as the storm was forecast to dump 20 to 30 inches (50 to 76 cm) of rain on much of Puerto Rico through Friday, according to the NHC.

The island’s governor, Ricardo Rossello, said the only fatality immediately reported was a man struck by a piece of lumber hurled by high winds.

It’s nothing short of a major disaster,” Rossello said in a CNN interview, adding it may take months for the island’s electricity to be completely restored. Earlier he imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew for the island. (source)

Puerto Rico dodged a bullet a couple of weeks ago when Hurricane Irma only caused some damage and took down power to a small percentage of people on the island. But Maria was a direct, destructive hit that can only be described as catastrophic.

Maria brought life-threatening flooding and mudslides, as well as a six to nine-foot storm surge to Puerto Rico… The full extent of the damage will not be known until authorities can do a flyover.

As well as bringing down power lines and ripping roofs off buildings, Maria also took weather radars offline…”This is going to be catastrophic for our island,” said Grisele Cruz, who was staying at a shelter in the southeastern city of Guayama. “We’re going to be without services for a long time.” (source)

Watch for updates over on Preppers Daily News as more information comes in.

Economic problems will make recovery extremely difficult.


This may well be the straw that broke the camel’s back for the island.

Puerto Rico has been suffering from financial woes for at least the last eleven years, causing the country to file for bankruptcy. The power grid was not well-maintained, spare parts were never ordered, and people in the field said ahead of time that the electrical system would not be able to withstand such a hit. Previously, I wrote:

It’s entirely possible that Hurricane Maria will put the island in the dark for quite some time to come, completely changing their way of life. 70,000 people are still without power from their bout with Irma, and much more damage to the utility system is expected. Gov. Rossello said:

We will not have sustainable electric infrastructure in the near future. We will be bringing in crews from outside of Puerto Rico to attend to these measures.”(source)

Philipe Schoene Roura, the editor of a San Juan, Puerto Rico-based newspaper, Caribbean Business, wrote:

Prepa Executive Director Ricardo Ramos Rodríguez recently said the powerlines carrying electricity in the public corporation’s system are in such a deteriorated state that a strong storm could leave the island without power for weeks.

“To give you a number, if during Hurricane Georges 100 lines went down in 1998, today the same [kind of ] hurricane would bring down 1,000,” the official candidly told Caribbean Business when asked about the possibility of Prepa’s system effectively withstanding the onslaught of a similar storm.

“The lifespan of most of Prepa’s equipment has expired. There is a risk that in light of this dismal infrastructure situation, a large atmospheric event hitting Puerto Rico could wreak havoc because we are talking about a very vulnerable and fragile system at the moment,” Ramos added…

…Francisco Guerrero (a fictitious name to protect his identity), a Prepa field worker for 23 years, said it would take months for Prepa to bring up Puerto Rico’s power system should a hurricane like Harvey strike the island.

The lack of linemen and other technical personnel, as well as a lack of equipment—including replacement utility poles for powerlines and replacement parts—are the issues of greatest concern among public corporation employees, who say they risk their lives working with equipment in poor condition that provides them with little safety.

Guerrero said that today only 580 linemen remain out of the 1,300 who were part of the workforce in previous years—and that’s not counting the upcoming retirement of another 90 linemen. Likewise, he said there are only 300 electrical line testers to serve the entire island.

The source also said that much of Prepa’s equipment dates back to the 1950s—and the more “modern” equipment that is still functional dates from the 1990s; in other words, it’s from the past century.

“If a hurricane like this one [Harvey] hits us, the system is not going to come online, I’d say, in over six months. Right now, the warehouses don’t even have materials. I’m talking about utility poles and other stuff,” Guerrero explained.

“How can you say that you have equipment that dates back to the 1950s and you are not buying parts to repair them? When it’s time for maintenance work, you don’t have the part and you leave things as they are, but there is an entry in the log saying maintenance was done. And yes, it was done, but the most important thing was not done, which was to replace that part,” he added. (source)

Think for a moment about how quickly this has gone down.

The country was already bankrupt, but now, with a one-two punch of natural disasters, there’s little way for them to recover. Unless a person was already well-prepared, there is not much chance of them stocking up now. (source)

Because of their economic problems, recovery will be difficult, if not impossible. Because of their economic problems, preparations for the average person would also be hard to afford. And if everything you own was destroyed by the storm, then life as you know it has suddenly changed in the most dramatic way possible.

This is a real-life example of the SHTF that preppers talk about. Those who wish to be prepared should carefully follow what happens in Puerto Rico because much can be learned about human nature, the recovery process, skills we should learn, and preparations we should make.

It isn’t just Puerto Rico that was hard hit by Hurricane Maria


Two days ago, the island of Dominica was completely destroyed, with the roofs of 99% of the structures torn off by the Category 4 winds.

The small island was absolutely devastated. No respecter of persons, it even ripped the roof off of the home of the Prime Minister.

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit posted on Facebook:

Initial reports are of widespread devastation. So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace. My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.

So, far the winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with. The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go and this apparently triggered an avalanche of torn away roofs in the city and the countryside.

Come tomorrow morning we will hit the road, as soon as the all clear is given, in search of the injured and those trapped in the rubble.

I am honestly not preoccupied with physical damage at this time, because it is devastating…indeed, mind boggling. My focus now is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured.

We will need help, my friend, we will need help of all kinds.

It is too early to speak of the condition of the air and seaports, but I suspect both will be inoperable for a few days. That is why I am eager now to solicit the support of friendly nations and organisations with helicopter services, for I personally am eager to get up and get around the country to see and determine what’s needed. (source)

Dominica has a population of 72,000 people and is 289 square miles. (source)

Other parts of the Caribbean sustained significant damage as well.

Passing early Wednesday just west of St. Croix, home to about 55,000 people, Maria damaged an estimated 65% to 70% of the island’s buildings, said Holland Redfield, who served six terms in the U.S. Virgin Islands Senate…

Photos posted on Facebook from St. Croix by Virgin Islands’ local public television station, WTJX-TV, showed fallen utility and telephone poles, tangled wires, uprooted trees and storm shutters ripped from buildings.

In the French territory of Guadeloupe, many roads were blocked and 40% of the population was without power, France’s overseas territories ministry said. (source)

Today, Hurricane Maria has regained strength and is battering parts of the Dominican Republic, Turks, and Caicos. (source)

Meteorologists are unclear if, when, or where Maria will strick the United States coast, but mercifully, they’re fairly certain Florida is safe.

The current forecast does not show a direct hit on the East Coast, forecasters say, but such a path cannot be ruled out this far in advance…

…tracking models are good for three to five days, and anything beyond that is hard to forecast, according to CNN meteorologist Michael Guy.
A five-day span shows Maria meandering off the US East Coast, but it’s unclear what happens afterward, he said.
Whether the eye of the storm will hit the East Coast is a waiting game, he said. And even if it does not make landfall, the East Coast will be affected in some way.
“Most likely it will bring a chance of rain to the Mid-Atlantic up through Massachusetts depending on how close it gets to the coast,” Guy said.
“Regardless there will be high surf, dangerous rip currents and breezy, windy conditions up the East Coast of the US.”
Those who live from North Carolina’s Outer Banks to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, should monitor the storm for any changes, he added. (source)
Let’s hope this hurricane season settles down because Mother Nature is certainly wreaking havoc and while we want to be generous, recovery funds can only spread so far.

 

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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38 Responses

  1. A terrible situation. Unfortunately, the unusually warm waters or the Caribbean have only served to increase the frequency and power of these hurricanes.

    We need to unite to research what can be done to prevent these disasters from happening again, how to prepare for these disasters, and (most importantly) help those who have been affected. This must unite us as humans, not divide us as individuals.

    1. Hmmm. . .
      I did an assessment of this “warm water” stuff after Katrina. It is BS. The model I used was a Carnot Thermal Engine. Something else is going on.

      1. Dear, Kanaka Waiwai`ole

        You’re getting , ‘warmer’, have you seen the latest at Geoengineering watch.org?

        If you’re not averse to facts, that’s a real bunch of eye-opener, there.

    2. At first read, I didn’t notice how divisive this comment was:

      “This must unite us as humans, not divide us as individuals.”

      It’s just the opposite, my friend. The individual – is paramount – it’s the basis of the family unit! To act as if being human, is outside of being an individual, is as divisive as it gets!

      A better way is to say, ‘This should unite all individuals, we are all human, and hopefully we all recognize our own self-interests and strive towards a common goal which is in the best interests for every individual.

      …Unless of course, you’re a Communist/Socialist/Progressive/Sjw/clueless kind of person or something. Then you’ll find my words offensive and want to curl up in a ball and rage, or whatever Collectivist of that stripe do. I hope you’re not one of them.

      Strive to be an individual and to be free. That is what it means to be human.

  2. Yes more financial burden on the US. Major strain on our already broke country but the human toll is awful. I was just telling my husband I bet hardly anyone on our street even has a means to cook anything outside of the stove in their house and most newer stoves have electric ignition bu then if gas is shut off you wouldn’t be able to even cook with that either. Just put together a home made rocket stove this week to go with my other alternative sources of cooking. We are prepping as hard as we can right now finishing things on our list. Feels very urgent now. I am afraid an earthquake is coming next in CA.

    1. You can light a gas stove when the electric is out. Before electronic ignition, we used a match. Your knob will work in the direction they used to. Low flame to high instead of high to low. Just be SURE TO LIGHT THE MATCH FIRST. Have the match close to the holes before turning on the knob SLOWLY. If you don’t light the gas quickly, you could have an explosion as it all lights at once. I had an aunt who asked her babysitter to bake a cake for her. When she came the cake batter was everywhere. Even on the ceiling. She turned on the gas, went and got a match, lit it and when she placed it near the oven BAM! So be careful.

      1. RE: ‘If you don’t light the gas quickly, you could have an explosion as it all lights at once.’

        Pardon me, I smell an, ‘old wives tale’ on that one, mechele see.

        I’ve had a number of gas stoves through the years, often I lit them with matches, I frequently waited too long as the gas hissed out. No, “Bam!” what-so-ever. Ymmv, I suppose.
        Perhaps the word you’re looking for is, “flam”? It’s just short of a, ‘bam’.

        I’m trying to imagine how long you’d have to wait for a, ‘bam’…. you’d really have to wait for gas to build-up for that one. But, I suppose it’s possible if a person really, really tried.

        For some reason, I’m remined of this bit, I imagine it scares the bejebus out of some people:

        http://www.landcruisingadventure.com/the-gasoline-coleman-stove/

        Do Not Be Afraid.

    2. RE: ‘I am afraid an earthquake is coming next in CA.’

      Imho, living in Cali, is like being in a sand-castle on the beach, sooner, or much later…

      It’s a wonderful place in some respects. But, I wouldn’t go back there for the world.

      RE: ‘I bet hardly anyone on our street even has a means to cook anything outside of the stove in their house and most newer stoves have electric ignition…’

      Reluctantly, I’ve decide that we live in a world much like the lame-assed film, ‘Idiocracy’. Have you suffered through that film? Even if people have a gas stove, I doubt they’d have the wherewithal to lite it with a match. I think, maybe,… it is, That Bad. IDK.

  3. I expect in the name of humanitarrrrrianism”, islanders will be afforded a wecome mat to US cities with all of the benny’s provided to those under the blanket of migration.

    1. Of course just like the “welcome” other American citizens who come to relish in the tax breaks the island affords them.

      1. What’s the matter with tax breaks, Nilsa?

        Yeesh, if only there were more of them. People’s lives are made better from them. The more, the better. Individuals know how to spend their money better than a bureaucrat does, hands down, every time.

        Unless of course, someone appointed you, king of the world.

        In the background: the Cajun Navy and various other private charities do more good than any bureaucrat directed program ever did. …But, I shouldn’t start an argument, either you ‘get it’ or, you don’t. See also: LRC.

    2. Dear, jd

      Imho, the, ‘benny’s’ are the problem, not the mirgration, in and of itself.
      Why does no one complain about the free hand-outs of the, ‘benny’s’ which are taken from some, and given to others, by our overlords. No matter who gets them?

      But, what do I know, it’s not like free migration was a problem for thousands of years.
      Right?

      I mean, if I get your drift, You certanily wouldn’t want a wall between you and survival, eh? You wouldn’t expect to be given handouts, right? But, you might expect to be given a chance to live.

  4. I have a friend that lives in Puerto Rico. He has a 500 gallon tank of water, a diesel generator with 50 gallons of fuel and plenty of food. The problem is that after 3 days or so and you are the only one in the neighborhood that has food, water and a generator, things could get dicey.

    How does the government feed and provide water to 3.7 million people on an island? With Harvey and Irma FEMA had trucks pre-positioned to move supplies in as soon as the hurricane was over.

    1. I have often thought it a mistake for people to run generators. The racket announcing to the world “here’s the good stuff, come ‘n get it!” The lone house blazing like Cape Kennedy in the darkened neighborhood. I can understand why people would want to run a generator to keep the fridge/freezer cold, but other than that, I think it better to live without the electricity and stay dark and quiet.

    2. Pardon me, I can’t resist, the answer to the question, “How does the government feed and provide water to 3.7 million people on an island?” is:

      The government doesn’t do that, never could, and never will, and will likely Only make things worse!

      The solution is, The Free Market! Only the free market can provide for people’s needs, especially at that number. If the government gets in the way, which it will, the free market turns into a black market, which means, it’s a free market ‘under ground’ and tries to hide, like a low flying aircraft dropping aid to those who have no hope.

      Your appearant hope in FEMA is disturbing. I hope your friend knows how to bury a gen set.

  5. I am truly sorry for the poor people who always get the leftovers but FEMA is out of money and the USA is broke.; but Trump will promise them dollars we don’t have. Unfortunately we/they can’t afford ObamaCare so the local governments need to get the drug cartels which run PR to bring in medicine and doctors. The islands need to call Hillery and Bill to bring their Clinton Foundation to the rescue. Then they should call all the movie stars in Hollywood and ask for a million dollars each from their personal bank accounts. Maybe Oprah will donate 50 million in cash.

    1. Please do not get it twisted. Many islanders are highly educated and are not Democrats. Unfortunately, many companies especially pharmacutical come to the island for “tax breaks” which creates a burden to islanders and for those on the mainland who need affordable meds. Why do you think your meds cost so much?

      1. RE: ‘ Why do you think your meds cost so much?’

        You have Much to learn, Nilsa.

        Might I suggest a starting point, Jon Rappoport.
        Or, look up, ‘Warning: Don’t Take The Drugs Your Doctor Gave You Until You Read This’ September 12, 2017

        Your heart seems like it’s in the right place.

        ‘Tax breaks’ are only a burden for our overlords. Not for the little people.

        Also, most everything from Big Pharma is poison designed to keep people down. Pick up a copy of the book, ‘Green Pharmacy’ and inform others who want to know. Or, remain in your bubble, it’s your choice.

  6. My feeling is, and I might be wrong, that this hurricane damage might be what will bring rebuilding to Puerto Rico, where they would not be able to get the funding to modernize otherwise. Since they are an American territory, the US is rather obligated to help them out with disaster relief. If they can put someone honest in charge of the relief effort, unlike was done in Haiti, although it would take time, and patience from the citizens, they might come out of this better than before the hurricane. Of course the important and immediate need is food, water and necessities and the honest dispersal of those items to the people. I would go with the church-based charities, like Samaritan’s Purse, for private donations, they do the work without skimming most of the money out for their administration.

    1. the words ‘honest’ and ‘relief’ dollars, they just never go together. Look at Katrina, most of the relief money is still in the hands of criminal companies, never did make it to the people. This can be said about most relief efforts. We give, the bigwigs take it and hold it.

      1. I want to hug you, Karon. I hope your’e not a Communist/Socialist/SJW /anti-free market type. You don’t seem like one.

    2. Dear gena,

      It’s doubtful ‘they’ will ever put anyone in charge who is honest. That’s the nature of the beast. [Have you ever seen the film, ‘The Godfather’?]
      Also, no matter how much time and patience ‘citizens’ have, the ‘Broken Window Falacy’ says they will Never come out of this better than before the hurricane.

      I do hope you spend the time to understand this.

      ‘Broken Window Falacy’

  7. There are some positives in P.R No.1. no one is going to freeze if power is not restored right away. No.2 Air conditioning is a modern convenience that many people didn’t have growing up and they can adapt .No.3 Most of the residences are proud of their P.R. heritage and will work together to survive and rebuild, it isn’t a fragmented society . no.4 There is an abundance of seafood that can be had with a little organizing although most of it is not part of the historical diet and cuisine of the island. No.4 many Puerto Ricans have family and friends in the continental U.S. that will assist them. As in Florida things have moved faster then the doomsayers predicted , the same will hold true for P.R.

    1. No they won’t freeze to death but they will die from Cholera and tropical dieses that will re-emerge like magic. There is no source of clean water except rainwater and you can only live so long on coconuts, bananas, and bread fruit as the supply is limited. Human waste and sewage will flow down the mountains like a pale horse.

      1. Dear Heinrich Mueller,
        Hopefully, they will Not die from Cholera and tropical dieses that will re-emerge like magic. The theory of Louis Pasture is false, Bouchamp will prevail for those who live, ‘it’s not the germ, it’s the terrain’ …unless of course the germ is made in a labRATory, maybe?

        Yah, you’re right, you can only live so long on coconuts, bananas, and bread fruit as the
        supply is limited. Human waste and sewage will flow down the mountains
        like a pale horse. Hopefully, the free market will fill the void. Imho, this showcases why networking is a high priority. That, and having something of value to trade. Maybe a good water filter, too.

        What other positive input do you have? I mean, ones counter to your realist outlook. I.e. what would you do if you were there? That sorta thing. Not to say I don’t appreciate your realism.

    2. HA! Jay, I take it you’re a Northerner like myself. P.R No.1. It’s a good thing they don’t have to worry about freezing to death… however; they can suscumb to hypothermia. That’s a real danger anywhere in the world.

      Awesome comment. Jay.

  8. As a 2nd generation Puerto Rican I’ve been telling my family on the island that they should always be prepared for an emergency. For some reason this past summer I felt it strong, especially after what happened in Texas. I live in NYC but that hasn’t stopped me from prepping. Even my grown children are into being prepared for the worst. The way our economy is right now everyone should be preparing for the worst. Perhaps this will teach them not to be so laid back and start fortefieing their homes for the future.

    Yes, I do feel for them but I am more angry that many did not prepare. We can not and should not expect our government to help us when the SHTF.

    1. “We can not and should not expect our government to help us when the SHTF.”

      Cool. You’re more up to speed thna most.

  9. I spent some time in PR and found it a wonderful Island, it’s too bad the people have to go through this hardship.I was on the Island with the Navy so maybe it won’t take as long as they think to get things going again with the Navy there to lend a helping hand.The navy has big roll on roll off ships on which they can bring trucks with loads of food and water also if they can find any power crews that aren’t restoring power in Texas and Florida they can load them along with all their equipment on board and drive them right off at the Navy Base. They can also bring big generators that are built on smi trailer trucks that will furnish power to hospitals,water plants,and other critical locations.Knowing how President Trump operates, those plans are already in gear. At least having a Navy base near by will be a big help.Good luck to all and please keep my DON Q rum flowing to the mainland.

  10. Puerto Rico and Cuba were two experiments in social engineering. Cuba was totally supported by communism and Puerto Rico by capitalism. However both were actually supported by handouts. See world what we can do as communist! See world what we can do as capitalist! Cuba actually turned out better and was able to produce innovative products because they got less handouts and had to do real work and get by with less resources to survive. Everyone I know including my self that have worked in war zones and have worked in Puerto Rico have said the same thing. It is easier to get something done in a war zone than in Puerto Rico. They don’t show up for work on time and they will let something be done wrong and will not allow it to be corrected because you might insult or embarrass the person that made the mistake. In the 1950’s you could fly down to Puerto Rico and then drive around the Island and there was virtually no cars on the road. Now it is one continuous traffic jam. Its like driving in Mexico City. They are like the ancient people who lived on Easter Island and consumed all existing trees and resources. Without goods and services brought in daily to Puerto Rico, the overpopulated Island would strip it bare like Haiti is today. So yes, The United States will pour billions more dollars into Puerto Rico. Which is like pouring sand down a rat hole. PUERTO RICO IS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF HOW SOCIALISM FAILS. So now do you really want the rest of the United States to be like them?

    1. Oh God, hate to say it but it’s true. I have visited relatives on the island and seen how they operate and wonder how the heck can they exist? Kept telling them to get off their butts and be more self-reliant, but they don’t listen.

      1. RE: “but they don’t listen”

        Teenagers? ….Kidults?

        I guess, having been a teenager myself at one point a long long long time ago, I can relate and ‘try’ to cut them some slack.
        At the same time, it’s all the more reason to ride their ass.

  11. here is proof that preparing to protect your life and lives of your family is a REALLY STUPID IDEA as portrayed on tv, radio and the general media……..If you see no value in preparing to protect your own family then YOU ARE WORSE THEN AND INFIDEL and deserve what ever happens to you that could have been prevented. Many say I am nuts for preparing but they have life insurance, car insurance, home insurance, job insurance, medical insurance . fire insurance, pet insurance, burial insurance etc etc etc……………….I prefer to take that money of the preimums and put it into preps so latter i can eat my prieimums vs waiting for fema to save me a few weeks latter ) i will be eating whilst you are starving) or while u are waiting to get money from the BANKRUPT INSURANCE COMPANIES like Hurricane Andrew in 1992 ( few of the homes were ever rebuilt) i will take the tools i bought from the preimums and get about my life. So to recap, i am nuts as I dont rely on the government nor the insurances that keep telling me how much I need them!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I DONT NEED THEM, I NEED THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE AND HIS PRINCIPLES AS ENSHRINED IN THE BIBLE.
    I

    1. Kanaka Waiwai`ole wrote,

      “There is more to Puerto Rico than most understand.”

      People are the same the world over. Some individuals are more hip than others.

  12. I have continued to follow the news about this and here is what really struck me: The hurricane happened only 6 days ago, and already everyone interviewed by media is saying they are out of food and water and why is the government taking so long to save them? Why hasn’t the government provided food and water to 3 million people in 6 days? It must be because Trump is uncaring and racist! It must be because FEMA is incompetent! The unrealistic logistical expectations, expecting a government employee loaded with food and water and prescription medicine, and a can of gasoline for your car, to appear like a genie on your doorstep a week after a disaster.

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