Over the weekend, some residents in the Puerto Rican city of Ponce broadcast on Facebook Live their discovery of a warehouse full of unused disaster supplies that could have been used after the recent earthquakes and after Hurricane Maria in 2017. That video and related protests led to the firing of Puerto Rico’s director of emergency management, and now, some Puerto Ricans also want Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced to resign.
Arelis Hernández is a reporter for The Washington Post, and has been covering the story from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She says numerous earthquakes have shaken the island since the end of 2019. Most of them have been small, but a handful have been over a magnitude 5. Thousands of people on the southern part of the island are camping outside for fear that a future earthquake could crumble their homes, Hernández says.
In Ponce, residents broadcast their break-in of the warehouse where they found the unused disaster supplies.
“There were thousands of water bottles … propane tanks and air mattresses and cots – all things that could have been used in this particular disaster.”
The revelation sparked calls for Gov. Vazquez’s ouster.
Just last year, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resigned after massive protests over belittling chat messages he wrote about Puerto Ricans in the midst of a difficult recovery from Hurricane Maria. Hernández says Puerto Ricans now want Vázquez out because of her “incompetence.”
“It’s sort of a message to the political establishment that the people are watching; the people are still upset,” Hernández says.
Written by Caroline Covington.