The people of Puerto Rico are Americans. And they are in desperate trouble.
We try to avoid hyperbole, exaggeration. But the word "desperate" is relevant here.
Puerto Rico is an island of 3.5 million people. It is virtually cut off from the mainland. The airport in San Juan can only handle a few flights a day. Thousands are stranded. There is no power grid, and it won't come back for months. Because of that, the water supply has failed.
Eighty-percent of the island's crops were destroyed by Hurricanes Irma and Jose. Food is very scarce.
Schools are closed. Only a few ATMs are functioning. Same with gas stations.
In short, this is a life-threatening situation and American citizens are in deep trouble.
What to do? The good news is that FEMA is there and organizing, and so too is the military. They are best-placed to get the relief effort moving.
But then, money will be required—lots of it. Remember, Puerto Rico is bankrupt and now devastated. We are surely talking tens of billions of dollars. Coming on top of the big bills for Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida, that kind of money will be contentious. And it will add to the already exploding deficit.
Talk about bad timing. The president and Congress are locked in a political battle over taxes and healthcare and a budget.
In the middle of a humanitarian crisis, Puerto Rico and its 3.5 million Americans, are in dire need now.