26 September 2017

Satellites Show the Lack of Power In Puerto Rico as a Catastrophe Unfolds.

Posted by Dan Satterfield

From NOAA/CIMMS. This image is from the Suomi Satellite’s VIRRS sensor.

The images and pleas for help coming from Puerto Rico are heartbreaking and increasingly alarming. Media reports this evening are saying that 80% of the island’s crops have been destroyed. Only those with generators have power and mobile signals are sparse and intermittent. Up to 60% of people have no reliable access to clean water, and frankly, I can see no signs that much is being done about it!

What’s left of the NOAA Doppler radar near San Juan. It will be at least three months before it can be rebuilt.

I saw a post on Twitter that made the point that the population of Iowa and Puerto Rico are about the same. If the entire state of Iowa had most of its crops destroyed, with no power and 60% of the population were without safe drinking water, would our reaction be different than it is now? I think that’s a very VALID question to ask. Does the fact that most American’s are geographically illiterate and would have trouble finding Puerto Rico on a map play into this? I sure hope not.

The NOAA radar station was totally destroyed as well, while San Juan is seeing near record warm temperatures, and this adds to the woes since almost no one has power for air conditioning.

No A/C is one thing, but the problem is much more serious than that. Any medical expert will tell you that lack of safe drinking water will lead to medical emergencies and disease in a very short period of time, so something needs to be done about this.

Like yesterday.

My Point: 3.5 million American’s are in dire straits, while football and someone else’s patriotism is not only none of my business, it’s definitely NOT the lead story right now. It’s not even above the fold.

Kudos to the Washington Post for realising the magnitude of this story and their coverage has been superb today. I just checked the CBS News website and Puerto Rico is 9 storylines down. That’s way below the fold. Do better CBS. Oh, and NY Times, look at your front page too.

It’s time for a massive relief effort.