Efforts Underway in Detroit to Assist Puerto Rico

Jake Neher/WDET

Kerry Duggan (left) with Stephen Henderson (right)

About two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island of Puerto Rico, more than half of the people on the island are still without clean drinking water. That’s 3.4 million Americans.

Only about five percent of residents have power. Those who don’t might not get their power back for months.

Contact between Puerto Ricans on the mainland and their loved ones on the island is still very spotty. Many people are still waiting to hear if family and friends are OK.

As criticism mounts to the Trump Administration’s handling of the crisis, the president took to Twitter over the weekend to criticize the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital.

Trump accused Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz of poor leadership and suggested that Puerto Rico isn’t doing enough to help itself.

This is the literal and political landscape the president encounters as he surveys the damage in Puerto Rico first-hand on Tuesday.

Click here to hear Stephen Henderson’s conversation last week with a Detroiter who has family in Puerto Rico

Here in Detroit, efforts are underway to assist victims on the island. Local consultant Kerry Duggan with SustainabiliD is coordinating those plans. Duggan joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about those efforts.

We’re getting a lot of really amazing outreach from very important people who have resources,” says Duggan, who says they’re focusing on long-term assistance as opposed to immediate relief efforts. ”We’re focused on what happens when FEMA and Red Cross and the other agencies start pulling out and the power comes back on.”

Sandra Svoboda/WDET

Jim Millstein worked on the financial restructuring in Puerto Rico.

Henderson also speaks with Jim Millstein, founder of Millstein & Co., a firm that specializes in financial advising and restructuring and worked in Puerto Rico for three years. Millstein talks about the financial crisis Puerto Rico finds itself in and how that’s affected by these natural disasters.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Image credit: Paul McKellips/FEMA

About the Author

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


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