Puerto Rico Faces Extensive Damage After Hurricane Maria
Getty Images

Puerto Rico Faces A Grave Agriculture Crisis After Hurricane Maria: "There Will Be No Food"

Amid one of the worst hurricane seasons the world has ever seen, Puerto Rico has been hit with tremendous losses, unlike anything the island has ever seen. After losing all electricity, the Caribbean nation now faces a severe crop and agriculture crisis.

The New York Times reports that Hurricane Maria wiped out 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s crop value. The Category 4 storm had reportedly destroyed many plantations, chicken coops and dairy barns, making the disaster—as Puerto Rico’s secretary of the Department of Agriculture Carlos Flores Ortega claims, “one of the costliest storms to hit the island’s agriculture industry.”

READ: Marc Anthony To Trump: “Shut The F**k Up And Help Puerto Rico”

The Times spoke to a resident farmer in the area, José A. Rivera, where he boldly predicted that there will not be any food because of the extreme level of damage from Hurricane Maria.

“There will be no food in Puerto Rico,” said Rivera. “There is no more agriculture in Puerto Rico. And there won’t be any for a year or longer.”

Flores tells the Times that “plantain, banana, and coffee crops were the hardest hit” and dangerous landslides in the mountains destroyed many of the island’s roads, which critically damage their agricultural infrastructure.

“Sometimes when there are shortages, the price of plantain goes up from $1 to $1.25. This time, there won’t be any price increase; there won’t be any product,” Rivera explains. “When I heard the meteorologist say that the two had turned into a three and then a four, I thought, ‘Agriculture in Puerto Rico is over.’ This really is a catastrophe.”

Puerto Rico reportedly suffered a staggering $780 million loss because of the storm compared to Hurricane Irma, which took out $45 million worth of production of its agriculture.

READ: Lala Anthony Issues Urgent PSA For Puerto Rico Amid Hurricane Maria

“I have never seen losses like these in any of my 80 years,” said the plantation foreman Félix Ortiz Delgado. “Those palms take about 10 years to grow. I will be dead by then.”

Flores remains optimistic however in the face of such dire tragedy. While acknowledging that agriculture in general always the most vulnerable in natural disasters, he believes that now is time for a full revamp of their “antiquated” infrastructure.

“Agriculture is the most vulnerable sector to natural disasters,” Flores told The Times. “But it’s also the one that can have the speediest recovery, and it’ll be the great surprise in the Puerto Rican economy because we’re going to come back stronger.”

“We had an antiquated agricultural infrastructure that maybe now is the opportunity to make it more efficient,” he added. “Now is the moment because we’re starting from zero. Maybe it hadn’t been done before because there was no way of financing it. We’re going to rebuild better this time.”

Read the full story here.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

California Approves Bill Banning Racial Discrimination Based On Hairstyles

California is set to become the latest state to ban racial discrimination based on hairstyles. Senate Bill 188, also known as The Crown Act, was introduced by state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) in January and unanimously approved in a 37-0 vote Monday (April 22).

The bill outlines the proximity between race and hair and how the history of the U.S. has been “riddled with laws and societal norms” that equate  “blackness’” which includes physical traits such as “dark skin, kinky and curly hair” with inferiority, and therefore subjecting black people to “separate and unequal treatment.”

“This idea also permeated societal understanding of professionalism,” Morgan states in the bill. “Professionalism was, and still is, closely linked to European features and mannerisms, which entails that those who do not naturally fall into Eurocentric norms must alter their appearances, sometimes drastically and permanently, in order to be deemed professional.

“Despite the great strides American society and laws have made to reverse the racist ideology that Black traits are inferior, hair remains a rampant source of racial discrimination with serious economic and health consequences, especially for Black individuals,” Morgan continues.

Furthermore, dress codes and grooming policies prohibiting “natural hair” have a “disparate impact on Black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees than any other group.”

The 1964 Civil Rights Act banning racial discrimination extends to afros as well, but doesn’t include other hairstyles. As pointed out in SB 188, “courts do not understand that afros are not the only natural presentation of Black hair. Black hair can also be naturally presented in braids, twists, and locks.”

Although the bill has yet to be signed into law, the state isn't alone in making moves to end the racist bias against natural hair. In February, New York City passed a similar bill in February imposing a $250,000 penalty for hair discrimination.

Continue Reading
Scott Olson

13-Year-Old Texas Girl Dies After Being Jumped By Three Teens

A 13-year-old Texas girl was placed on life support after being jumped by three teenage girls last week, and the New York Daily News confirms the teen died.

Kashala Francis was walking home from Attucks Middle School Thursday (April 18) when she was jumped by two girls and kicked in the head by another. Cellphone recording of the incident shows the attackers laughing.

The girl's mother Mamie Jackson told reporters that Kashala came home with a bruise on her face, told her what happened but insisted she was fine. However, things quickly got worse.

On the following Saturday, Jackson says Kashala went to a family member's house and was told she became delusional but was able to gather her bearings. On Sunday (April 21), Kashala called her mother and complained she felt weak and had a painful headache before lying down.

Jackson said soon after she called the ambulance because Kashala was unconscious. While at Texas Children's Hospital, it was discovered she had a tumor in the back of her head and had fluid buildup in her brain.

On Wednesday morning (April 24) Kashala died. Pending an autopsy, it's unclear if the young girl had the tumor prior to the fight, or if being kicked in the head caused the tumor, which resulted in her death.

Until the autopsy can make the distinction, the case is being investigated as a homicide.

In an emailed sent to The Daily News, the school district stated it's offering students access to grief counselors.

"[The district] is deeply saddened to learn of the death of one of our students. We extend our sincere condolences to the student’s family, friends, teachers, and classmates."

Continue Reading
Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP

Second Man Convicted In The 1998 Death Of James Byrd Jr To Be Executed

In 1998, Jasper, Texas became the epicenter of the nation when James Byrd Jr's dismembered body was found outside of a predominately black church. The rest of his body was found about a mile and a half away.

Byrd was beaten by three white supremacists men and tied to the back of a pick-up truck and reportedly dragged three miles. All men were found guilty for his brutal murder. One was sentenced to life in prison, one was executed in 20111 and another will be put to death today (April 24).

According to CNN, Jon William King, 44 who's been on death row for 20 years, will die by lethal injection.

King has long maintained coconspirator Shawn Berry was solely responsible for Byrd's death. King has appealed his conviction, alleging ineffectiveness from his defense team. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his case last October.

In 2011, Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed and Shawn Berry was sentenced to life. While murders are devastating, Byrd's dragging death placed a blinding spotlight on the racial tension in America. The fallout from the case helped to pass the nation's hate crime bill, named after both Byrd and Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming teen who was viciously beaten to death.

Byrd's family, however, have opposed the death penalty and made it clear they would prefer that King be sentenced to life in prison. Byrd's son Ross has been quoting saying, "You cannot fight murder with murder."

Continue Reading

Top Stories