Supplies have been stranded at ports in the U.S. territory.

Jess McHugh
September 29, 2017

Little more than a week since Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is struggling to obtain the basic supplies the island needs.

Food, medicine, and drinking water are scarce, and thousands of containers of necessary supplies have been stuck at ports. With an intense shortage of gasoline, Puerto Rico has had trouble finding trucks to transport the supplies across the island in the wake of the devastating hurricane.

“I really hope things are worse today than they are going to be tomorrow,” Rafael Álvarez, vice-president of Méndez & Co, a food distribution company based in San Juan, told The Guardian. “People are getting very anxious with the heat and the lack of easily accessible drinkable water.”

Royal Caribbean sent a cruise ship to evacuate thousands of people from the island. Other cruise lines, including Carnival, have been using their ships to transport supplies.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, home to 3 million people. Residents of Puerto Rico are U.S. passport-holders, but many regulations apply to the island that don't apply to the rest of the country. For instance, earlier this week President Donald Trump waived a century-old shipping law, the Jones Act, that was hindering shipments to the island.

Relief efforts are under way, however the road to recovery will be long.

Comedian and late-night show host Stephen Colbert has started his own fundraiser to help the U.S. territory. Called “Puberme,” the campaign encourages celebrities to post embarrassing pubescent photos of themselves. For each photo posted, Colbert will donate to Puerto Rico via his foundation, the Americone Dream. Comedian Nick Kroll has promised to match each donation.

Kroll and Colbert are not the only celebrities to donate to relief efforts. Jennifer Lopez, whose family is Puerto Rican, donated $1 million. Pitbull has been using his private plane to evacuate cancer patients and transport them for treatment in the continental U.S.

Anyone can join the relief effort, for example by donating to authorized charities.

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