Not corrupt, just incompetent - Puerto Rico

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Lovely place and great people. Passed through there several times on my way to adventures and would not mind spending a month or two visiting. Unfortunately, this is not a well-run Nation. This latest example from the Washington Examiner:

Puerto Rico fires emergency director after finding warehouse full of wasted Hurricane Maria aid
Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez has fired the island’s director of emergency management after officials found a warehouse full of emergency supplies dating back to 2017's Hurricane Maria.

Vasquez dismissed Carlos Acevedo on Saturday and gave officials two days to investigate why the wasted supplies were forgotten. The warehouse was initially investigated for damage following recent earthquakes in the area, and investigators found thousands of items of supplies, including food, water, diapers, and medicine that were intended to help those affected by Hurricane Maria years ago.

I love that she gave them two days to respond. No chance for them to kick the can down the road and gracefully retire on full pension six months later. And this is just the latest:

Nearly 3,000 people reportedly died because of the hurricane and its lasting effects on the island. Mass protests in Puerto Rico in the hurricane’s aftermath led to the resignation of former Gov. Ricardo Rossello in July 2019.

In September 2018, hundreds of pallets of water were found abandoned on an airstrip. The water had gone bad sitting in the sun for months, while many in Puerto Rico lacked access to clean water. A month prior, a local radio station found crates of food, water, medicine, and other supplies left to rot in a state elections office. By the time the discovery was made, rats and other animals had already broken into the supplies and torn through trailers full of aid.

I get it. It is easy to get overwhelmed and lose traction. At that point, you need to recognize your problem and call for outside help. There is no shame in that. Some of the CERT and FEMA drills cover just those situations. I am saddened to realize that this could have been prevented had #1) - these people taken their responsibilities more seriously and #2) - they had spent 20-50 hours in a classroom covering some of the basic FEMA course materials. Available for free online. Great stuff. Start here: Emergency Management Institute. This series is incredible if you are working with CERT or Amateur Radio groups: ICS Resource Center This group too: National Incident Management System (NIMS)

These are all free, self-paced study and invaluable in a crisis. The best definition for "Emergency" that I have heard is that it is "an incident that outstrips your ability to cope". A couple of tens of hours spent getting CERT training or with these online classes would make your average emergency a lot less of a crisis.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on January 19, 2020 12:16 PM.

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