There is a massive humanitarian crisis emerging in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, and President Trump is doing all that he can to help.
After Hurricane Maria made an incredibly devastating direct hit on the island last week, native Puerto Ricans were left completely without power on the island. This, of course, led to a number of extraordinary issues for the isolated territory, including the inability to access banking, procure clean drinking water, communicate with loved ones, or reach out for help via telephone or internet.
In a scramble to bring a sense of order back to Puerto Rico, President Trump has made an unprecedented adjustment to the U.S. legal codes as it pertains to shipping routes in and around the territory, and this change has already signaled a turnaround in the island’s outlook.
“President Trump on Thursday waived the Jones Act, lifting shipping restrictions that prevented ships from unloading much-needed supplies to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.
“Trump had been mulling waiving the act, instituted in 1920 to bolster the US maritime industry, since Wednesday. The Jones Act stipulates that all ships carrying cargo from one US port to another, including those in US territories such as Puerto Rico, must be American made and owned.
“It prevents any foreign-flagged ship from transporting cargo between US ports. Thus, ships with much-needed supplies from nearby ports, such as Jamaica, weren’t able to unload their cargo in Puerto Rico.”
Puerto Ricans have been clamoring for assistance such as this for days, as legal hurdles and red tape have slowed recovery efforts.
Hurricane Maria arrived in Puerto Rico just days after hurricanes Harvey and Irma battered the southern United States. Harvey slammed into the Texas coast as a category 4 storm before stalling over the bustling metropolis of Houston, unleashing a torrent of flooding the likes of which the city had never seen. Then, nearly immediately after Harvey recovery efforts began, Hurricane Irma battered the entire states of Florida and Georgia, knocking out power to millions of Americans for a prolonged period of time.
Puerto Rico was next, clamoring for help from already stretched rescuers and FEMA, necessitating the action today by President Trump.