Tell Congress: Hold Hearings on the Trump FCC's Response to the Communications Crisis in Puerto Rico
It’s been two years since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico and destroyed the islands’ critical infrastructure, including its telecommunications networks. And there’s still no explanation why — or a plan to stop it from happening again.
Maria was one of the deadliest disasters in U.S. history and it knocked more than 95 percent of cell sites out of service, wiping out nearly all communications. For some people, the outages lasted months. Between 3,000 and 5,000 people died. The inability of Puerto Ricans to make calls for help or access life-saving information contributed to the nearly unprecedented death toll.
Two years later, we still know very little about what caused the communications crisis. And the expert agency tasked with restoring communication services in Puerto Rico — the Federal Communications Commission — has failed to investigate why the communication networks collapsed.
As the intensity of storms and extreme weather increases due to climate change, it’s important to address how poor Black and Brown communities are often most impacted by climate disasters — like those in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Investigating what happened in Puerto Rico will help us adopt policies that better help Puerto Ricans, Bahamians and other communities impacted by climate disasters.
Puerto Rico is a colonial possession of the United States, but Puerto Ricans should not be denied their civil and human rights to communicate.
The FCC won’t do its job, so we’re calling on Congress to step in.
Sign the petition urging Speaker Pelosi and other leaders in the House to examine the communication collapse in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.
1. “Mortality in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria,” New England Journal of Medicine, July 12, 2018: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1803972