Beyond the Bubble: In the wake of the storm
Hurricane Maria caused destruction in Puerto Rico, affecting students. | Photo Illustration by Thecla Li/THE CHIMES
Despite attending a university approximately 3,300 miles from Puerto Rico, students feel connected with the country’s people, over 1.2 million of whom remain without potable water after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, according to CNN.
The current number of deaths due to Maria has risen to 48, according to CNN. While emergency supplies and millions of dollars have been trickling to the island, many citizens have not received sufficient aid, forcing them to turn to contaminated sources of water or remain in dire conditions, according to the New York Times.
Senior biblical studies major Eric Gabriel has family members in Puerto Rico who are recovering from the hurricane. He frequents Puerto Rican news sites to keep updated on the country which hosted many of his summer vacations.
“It’s a big part of my childhood, part of my life and culture and just seeing… streets that I used to play on as a kid destroyed,” Gabriel said. “So much of that nature of it has been like destroyed too, near the mountains where there used to be growth and trees and forests, it’s just naked. So it’s sad seeing such a beautiful island just kind of left with nothing in a lot of areas.”
Gabriel’s family has also felt the effects of the water shortage. The hurricane winds blew the 500-gallon water tanks off the roof of their house. Some of his family members must now join thousands of others in drawing water from a mountain spring.
Christians have a duty
Junior communication studies major Joshua Johnson believes Christians have a duty to seek awareness of others’ pain.
“I think as Christians God calls us to be mindful of all that’s going around in the world and to empathize with those people, ‘To weep with those who weep and to mourn with those who mourn,’” Johnson said. “I think God desires a heart that longs for people and can empathize with them in their particular situation... even if ours don’t particularly match those circumstances.”
Sophomore business administration major Hannah Mosley believes students can help those affected by Maria by praying and contributing to relief efforts.
“I definitely think prayer is important, because God hears us and God knows that we care and that we struggle,” Mosley said. “And also find a way to help or donate or give anything you can, because we’re so privileged to be here and to have the resources that we do have, and so we should help in any way that we can.”