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Celine Thum, MD

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Doctor Goes to Help Puerto Rico, Discovers the Disaster is Much Worse in Person

I volunteered in Puerto Rico for two weeks, serving as a doctor in a mobile medical unit. What I witnessed was a humanitarian crisis that was far worse than that portrayed through U.S. media.

My team targeted rural communities in the middle, south and west coastal towns not yet surveyed by FEMA. We had expected that the state would have made progress a month after the storm, but outside of San Juan, conditions remained unchanged. Fences and power lines torn from the ground still obstructed the streets. Bridges collapsed and roads were impassable after landslides.