American rapper Pitbull came to the rescue of Puerto Rican cancer patients in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which had left the entire island without power.
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In late September 2017, Pitbull sent a private plane to Puerto Rico to pick up cancer patients who were stranded on the island, flying them to facilities in the U.S. so that they could continue to receive chemotherapy.
The 36-year-old hitmaker, whose given name is Armando Christian Pérez, hasn’t been flashy about his efforts. When asked about his good deed by E! News, Pitbull simply said, “Thank God we’re blessed to help. Just doing my part.”
Pitbull wasn’t the only celebrity to take action upon arrival of Hurricane Maria. Superstar Jennifer Lopez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, donated $1 million to hurricane relief efforts. She posted a video to her Instagram account in which she said, “What’s foremost in my mind and many others, is trying to figure out the best way to help,” before urging her followers to donate as well. “Despacito” collaborator Daddy Yankee, who was born in Puerto Rico, also donated $1 million.
Hurricane Maria is arguably the most devastating storm to occur in the round of natural disasters that ended the summer of 2017. Labeled a Category 4 hurricane when it hit Puerto Rico, it has caused at least 24 deaths, in addition to over 25 more in the surrounding Caribbean islands of Dominica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guadeloupe, and in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Multiple news outlets have reported the state of Puerto Rico as apocalyptic, “with Irma-level winds” and “Harvey-level flooding,” according to CNN. Hurricane Maria has left the island without power, making communications to and from the island incredibly difficult.
Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló called on U.S. Congress to approve a commensurate aid package and many people are urging people to take as much action towards Puerto Rico as they have towards Hurricane Iram and Harvey, which have taken their toll on the U.S. mainland. Unfortunately, many people forget the Puerto Ricans are U.S. Citizens too.
Rosselló said, “We need something tangible, a bill that actually answers to our need right now. Otherwise, there will be… a massive exodus to the (mainland) United States.”
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White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told CNN, “The federal response has been anything but slow. There’s been an unprecedented push through of billions of dollars in federal assistance.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported that airplanes and ships have been en route to the devastated islands with meals, waters, and generators.
Particularly vocal in response to Hurricane Maria was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who called on the Department of Defense to send a Navy medical ship. Clinton also tweeted, “President Trump, Se. Mattis, and DOD should send the Navy, including the USNS Comfort, to Puerto Rico now. These are American citizens.”