Puerto Rico is in need of disaster relief that adequately addresses the disproportional impacts Hurricane Irma and Maria have had on Puerto Rican women. Women across the world are already more likely to experience higher rates of sexual violence, familial responsibilities, and restricted access to reproductive healthcare in the aftermath of climate disasters. Puerto Rican women in particular are at very high risk for intimate partner violence in the world without stressors such as natural emergencies. Given these statistics and the causal relationship between poverty and violence toward women, upcoming policies such as the new year budget must support women appropriately. Photo Credit: Mario Tama
In the aftermath of hurricanes Maria and Irma, Puerto Rico has struggled to recover both physically and economically. Among the most impacted by the crises are Puerto Rican women, who already faced higher levels of poverty than men prior to the natural disasters alongside some of the highest rates of intimate partner violence in the world. The risk of domestic and gender-based violence is heightened after natural disasters, as women often are forced into precarious living situations. This danger is intensified by limited access to reproductive healthcare and menstrual products as well as additional burdens from caregiving duties. In this article, Anusha Ravi shares her research at the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress. She analyzes the unique challenges women face during disaster recovery and the ways a gender perspective must be incorporated into relief policies. Photo credit: Getty/Mario Tama
Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo, woman leader and head of UTIER, the electrical workers’ union in Puerto Rico, speaks with Democracy Now! following intense 2017 hurricanes, calling for a community owned, just renewable energy transition as the island looks to rebuild and find health and justice following intensive 2017 hurricanes. The community-centered plans she puts forth contrast with proposals by international entrepreneur Elon Musk, to provide centralized and privatized solar systems. Tisha Pastor, owner of a 100% renewable bed and breakfast hotel, also adds into the report, demonstrating the resiliency of her business in standing through recent climate disasters, to be a place of refuge for the surrounding area. Photo credit: Democracy Now!
Nurses such as Kathy Kennedy expressed their frustration with the dire situation in a Puerto Rico left to recover without much support after Hurricane Maria hit the Island. National Nurses United, a union of nurse practitioners, advocated to Democratic members of Congress after a two-week humanitarian mission to Puerto Rico to urge the United States government to provide disaster relief funding. The nurses said the conditions they witnessed were worse than they had seen on other humanitarian missions, including after Hurricane Katrina and the recent earthquake in Haiti. Photo credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Juan Carlos Davila and Laura Gottesdiener of Democracy Now! report on the growing movement in Puerto Rico of residents who are demanding that the island’s only coal-fired power plant be closed. Wearing hazardous waste suits, demonstrators dumped buckets of toxic coal ash onto the steps of the government’s capitol building in San Juan to draw attention to Applied Energy Systems, a private company, is polluting natural resources. Activists Jocelyn Velasquez and Yanina Moreno spoke about the risks posed by the poisonous ash to their health and the environment, which led community members to attempt to stop the dumping via blockade, which was broken up by government forces. Photo credit: Democracy Now!
Goldman Environmental Prize recipient Rosa Hilda Ramos is an original founder of Communities United Against Contamination (CUCCo) and a movement leader against toxic pollution and environmental degradation in Cataño, Puerto Rico. Through persistent appeals to the state and federal government, Ramos and CUCCo successfully pressured the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to curb its emissions and drove the local acquisition and state protection of the Las Cucharillas Marsh, which supports immense ecological diversity and offers flood protection for nearby Cataño communities. Photo credit: Goldman Environmental Prize