When Tragedy Strikes: United States Ravaged by Natural Disasters

Disaster in Puerto Rico, California, Florida, Texas, & Louisiana – Amongst Others

Disaster has hit the United States. Hurricanes have ravaged Puerto Rico and the southern US causing mass amounts of damage and leaving many without housing or employment. In addition, wildfires are burning through California, causing a historical amount of destruction. Thousands of citizens are being affected by these natural disasters and are in need of aide.

Almost half of Puerto Rico still remains without clean water and ninety percent of the island does not have power. Hospitals are shutting down, and thousands have fled to continental US to escape the aftermath of the worst storm to ever hit Puerto Rico.

Natural Disaster California Puerto Rico Florida Texas Hurricane Wildfires
Hurricane Maria Devastation – Photo Credit: TNS

Without power, necessary food and medicine refrigeration is impossible. Fuel is on ration and running lower every day while generators are the only sputtering to keep breathing machines going through the night. And worse yet, there appears to be no way to help the millions of US citizens stranded on an off-the-grid island as roads and communications are nearly unusable. It’s expected to take years and billions of dollars to help repair the island while the death toll slowly creeps up daily due to the living conditions.

Texas, Louisiana, and Florida were also hit in the last few months with record-breaking storms. Hurricane Harvey flooded parts of Texas and Louisiana along with destroying homes and businesses and displacing thousands. Hurricane Irma followed soon after hitting Florida with its category five fury. Both areas are still recovering from the storms.

Natural Disaster California Puerto Rico Florida Texas Hurricane Wildfires
Hurricane Harvey Devastation – Photo Credit: ABC News

Most recently, California has been hit with over sixteen wildfires, many of which are currently burning. Over 214,000 acres have burned, an estimated 4,700 structures have been lost and 100,000 people (and counting) have been evacuated. A five year drought that killed millions of trees, combined with fast, unpredictable winds have made the fires incredibly difficult to fight, contributing to their unprecedented destruction.

In addition to displacing thousands and causing so much damage, these fires are directly affecting this year’s cannabis crop and destroying the livelihood of many farmers in the region. An estimated 13 million pounds of cannabis is grown in California every year, most of which in Northern California. Although hard to pinpoint exactly how much has been lost, it’s safe to say that this year’s crop will be much smaller.

Natural Disaster California Puerto Rico Florida Texas Hurricane Wildfires Marijuana
California Wildfires – Photo by Josh Edelson, AFP/Getty Images

Cannabis farmers are unable to buy crop insurance and many depend on a yearly harvest to see them through the rest of the year. Luckily, the local community is doing all they can to help those affected by the fires. In Sonoma county Cannacraft has allowed their warehouse to be turned into the Red Cross command center and are donating $50,000 worth of cannabis medicine in junction with local dispensaries to locals who are in need.

In times of disaster the phrase “look for the helpers” comes to mind. Even amidst all the tragedy, people are pulling together to get their communities back on their feet. Through donation, time, energy and compassion people are already starting the healing process. In the words of one Puerto Rican man when speaking about resources in this trying time: “Patience, savings and family …. but as long as there is health, everything is fine.” We have to pull together to ensure our fellow Americans stay healthy and stay fine because right now, that’s at risk.


We at DOPE extend our love and support to all affected by these trying times. If you’d like to help out here are a few resources available:

Sources:
  1. https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/11/puerto_rico_3_weeks_after_hurricane 
  2. https://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Wine-County-fires-devastate-the-California-12274401.php
  3. https://www.cnn.com/2017/10/14/us/california-fires-updates/index.html

 

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