Ian Seavey, PhD Candidate in the Department of History, Texas A&M University
Hurricanes are an important category of analysis in the study of the Greater Caribbean and specifically Puerto Rico. Most recently, in 2022, Hurricane Fiona and Hurricane Maria in 2017 reminded Puerto Ricans and U.S. government officials that storm preparedness and disaster relief represent a critical part of the colonial relationship. Since the United States acquired Puerto Rico from the Spanish in the War of 1898, 47 hurricanes have battered the island. This amounts to about one every two years, the most out of all the islands in the Greater Caribbean. However, after World War II, the number of hurricanes which hit Puerto Rico began increasing and from 1980 to the present, that number expanded out to at least one every year. The sheer volume and frequency of hurricanes has long warranted a study which visually represents these metrics. This digital environmental history project showcases how prominently hurricanes impacted Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States. Using the program ArcGIS, this study maps each hurricane that hit Puerto Rico during the American period. Each pinpoint on the map, when clicked on, includes a brief description of the effects of storm, available pictures, and how each storm fits into the broader discussions of Puerto Rican history and U.S. imperial policy. Chronicling each storm in this way demonstrates in tangible ways that hurricanes as a category of analysis must be consulted when attempting to understand the political, economic, and social environments of Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States. This project also attracts a wide-ranging audience both inside and outside of academia in an approachable but rigorously researched manner.
Thank you so much for all your donations so far. We have received word from the Coalition of Immokalee workers that they have had an overwhelming amount of support and are not in need of the supplies that we have collected. So that is good news on that front.
In light of that we will be redirecting supplies to help with relief efforts in Puerto Rico to help them with recovery from the immense devastation suffered at the hands of Hurricane Maria. Some elements of this you may or may not know but the White House has yet to decide if they will send monetary aid to the island. Also Puerto Rico is not allowed to receive aid or shipments from countries outside of the United States due to the Jones Act which requires that all shipments to Puerto Rico have to go through a United States port and be delivered on a United States ship. The White House has also declined to suspend this rule despite the immense need on the island and offers from other countries to support.
That being said we really need to come together and help the people of Puerto Rico even more because of the precarious situation they find themselves in as a colonized island of the United States.
We will be collecting for the next two weeks optimistically and if needs continue beyond that. Below are some of the things we need as well as different drop-off locations on UF campus.
· Bottled Water · Toothpaste/Toothbrush · Deodorant · Bar Soap · Children’s Clothes · Baby Formula · Baby Food · Cat/Dog Food · Lighters · Diapers · Baby wipes · Bug spray · Underwear · Socks · Tarps · Non-perishable or canned foods · Feminine hygiene products · Hand Sanitizer · Trash Bags · Batteries · Flash Lights · Sunscreen Drop off locations include are:
UF Graduate Assistants United Office – Yon 224 Tuesday and Thursday 2-4 PM and Wednesday from 1:30 to 3:30 PM.
Center for Latin American Studies – 3rd Floor Grinter Hall, 8 AM to NOON and 1 PM to 5 PM
Center for African Studies at the University of Florida (MDP Office) – Grinter 470 from 9 AM to 5 PM
La Salita in the Reitz Union Office from 9 AM to 7 PM Please share this post and help bring in much needed donations!