One of the best bits about working at MusicMap.Global is that we get updated on news from all over the world which we wouldn’t otherwise hear about. Often this is positive stuff: events, festivals, art projects, general niceties and oddities. However, it does also sometimes open our eyes to more disturbing events.
Following our interview with Discos Diaspora‘s founder Alfredo Richner, where among other things we discussed Puerto Rican identity and the island’s vibrant music scene, we have enjoyed having our Facebook feed interrupted by his often enthusiastic posts on a variety of topics. As you may have guessed, his posts have adopted a more sombre and angry mood recently. And for good reason; Hurricane Maria has left much of Puerto Rico devastated, and the U.S. government are so far doing little to help.
We managed to catch up with Richner over Facebook for a first-person rundown of the current situation there.
If you’re able, do think about making a donation to one or more of the following relief funds. These are recommendations given to us by Richner and co.
“I’m one of the lucky ones: I’m ok, my family and friends are ok, damage to my house is repairable, and I have sporadic access to Internet and water. Things are more dire for people living in other areas of the island as communications and roadways to some towns have been completely destroyed. One of the bigger obstacles right now is access to gasoline and cash. Things are pretty stuck and have been for the past few days after the storm. People have to make long lines under the blistering 100+ degree sun to get a few bucks from a working ATM or to fill their gas tanks to fuel their cars or generators. I’m talking seven hour lines. I fear that if things don’t get better soon they will worsen considerably. There’s been rumors and reports of looting and gang violence and that is also a concern since police are tied up on rescue efforts. The government claims there is no scarcity but ground level and day to day survival does paint a different type of picture. So we think the problem then is access – how to transport diesel, fuel, water, and supplies throughout the Island.”