El martes, 20 de marzo de 2018, se sostuvo un encuentro y almuerzo en el Restaurante Nellie’s para presentar las donaciones recaudados para la Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseños de Puerto Rico (EAPD), presentar la celebración de la Abolición de la Esclavitud del sábado, 24 de marzo en el Centro Cultural Segundo Ruiz Belvis y anuncio de la visita del Alcalde de Chicago y la Puerto Rican Agenda a Puerto Rico. Entre los presentes estuvieron los representantes de las siguientes organizaciones: The Puerto Rican Cultural Center Juan Antonio Corretjer (PRCC), Aspira, Inc. de Illinois, el National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (NMPRAC), National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, el Puerto Rican Agenda y Urban Theater Company (UTC).
Además del inicio y formalización de enlaces entre la EAPD e instituciones de Chicago que promueven las artes y la educación de la misma, se le presentó a la Rectora varias donaciones para ayudar a reconstruir la planta física de la Universidad; entre ellas una donación de $10,000 que recaudó UTC junto a sus aliados comunitarios en el teatro, una donación de $1,000 del NMPRAC a través de sus esfuerzo de recaudación en el museo y otra donación personal de $500 por Fernando Grillo. Rican Renaissance, dirigido por el artista en residencia del PRCC, Richard “Tiago” Santiago, lograron recaudar $3,500 para EAPD y fue entregado por el Congresista Luis V. Gutiérrez y Santiago en una visita a la institución a finales del año 2017; con una entrega total de $15,000 de parte de la comunidad de Chicago a la institución antes mencionada.
Durante la reunión del martes, Santiago compartió lo siguiente:
“Hoy marca el paso del Huracán María, seis meses desde que el archipiélago de Puerto Rico sufrió un azote devastador por este fenómeno natural. Desde entonces, he trabajado arduamente junto al Puerto Rican Agenda acá en Chicago para ayudar a restaurar la Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de PR (EAPD). Esta Universidad, no solo es una institución autónoma y académica de las artes en nuestra isla, pero también es la única institución con las acreditaciones de estándares más altas en su clase; incluso, algunas instituciones de las artes en Estados Unidos no tienen estas acreditaciones.
Considero la EAPD la institución de las artes más importante en todo Puerto Rico. Dado a que casi todos los artistas más reconocidos e importantes de las artes plásticas en la isla tienen un enlace directo con la Universidad. Algunos son miembros del equipo fundador de la institución hace decadas, algunos fueron profesores en la Universidad , algunos ex-alumnos y todas las personas que están envueltos en las artes plásticas del país están ligados a la Universidad. Además, estoy más que seguro, que sin la EAPD, los museos más importantes de la nación puertorriqueña no estarían a capacidad y la calidad del arte en ellos estaría a falta de el lustre que caracteriza el arte de cientos de artistas graduados de la institución académica.
EAPD fue devastado por Huracán María. Pero hoy, estamos aquí, en Chicago, parados juntos a la Dra. Ileana Muñoz, Rectora de la Universidad, no solo para ofrecer algo de alivio y apoyo, pero también para juntos trazar un camino con la diáspora para el futuro cercano. Juntos nos comprometemos a salvar la Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico y trabajar para el beneficio del patrimonio cultural de la isla.”
Durante la estadía de la Rectora, se sostuvieron también reuniones y visitas con Billy Ocásio, Director Ejecutivo del National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (NMPRAC) y Juan Ochoa, Director Ejecutivo y Artístico de ChiArts, junto a representantes del Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC). Este junte se dio con el propósito de profundizar más las conversaciones ya iniciadas entre la Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico y la comunidad de instituciones en Chicago como parte de la campaña de las “3R’s Puerto Rico: Rescue, Relief, Rebuild” de Puerto Rican Agenda.
El martes, 20 de marzo de 2018, nuestra comunidad puertorriqueña y latina celebró con gran júbilo las victorias de Jesús “Chuy” García como candidato para el congreso por el 4to distrito – sustituyendo al legendario Luis V. Gutiérrez quien cumplió 25 años en ese escaño – digno representantes de nuestras dos comunidades latinas más grandes, la mexicana y puertorriqueña; y la líder comunitaria Delia Ramírez, por primera vez en la historia del estado de Illinois, hija de inmigrantes guatemaltecos, quien ocupará el escaño en la cámara de Illinois.
No obstante el dinero y los recursos que invirtieron los estadistas de Puerto Rico, encabezados por Romero Barceló, para promover diferencias entre los boricuas y mexicanos; los boricuas con grandes porcentajes le dieron la ventaja a su hermano mexicano Jesús “Chuy” García quien por años se ha destacado por su compromiso con nuestra isla y cuya esposa es una boricua de pura sepa.
Fue histórico, también, el hecho de que nuestra comunidad favoreció la candidatura de la primera guatemalteca al lanzarse a un puesto electivo en Illinois. Este hecho demuestra la gran madurez de respaldar plenamente a los que también nos apoyan, como fue el caso de la selección de Delia Ramírez quien ganó en grande la candidatura por el 4to distrito estatal. Ella venció a tres contrincantes con una abrumadora mayoría.
Nuestras felicidades a “Chuy”, Delia y muy en particular a la comunidad boricua quienes dijeron – ¡PRESENTE!
Building on methods they used to assess the impact of hurricanes such as Katrina, Gustav, and Rita on forests and tree mortality, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have produced a rapid mapping of the disturbance intensity across Puerto Rico’s forests with the help of Google Earth Engine.
Battered by two intensely powerful storms with sustained wind gusts of more than 150 miles per hour last year – first by Hurricane Irma and then by Hurricane Maria – Puerto Rico suffered widespread and catastrophic damage to its urban infrastructure. Using satellite images combined with image processing techniques, a team led by Jeffrey Chambers, an expert in forest biogeography, found extensive ecological damage as well.
The researchers assessed the damage by looking at changes in the surface reflectance of both visible and invisible light. While the human eye can discern colors in the visible spectrum, by also measuring the spectral response of the surface in reflective infrared light a far more precise picture is provided of impacts to forest vegetation.
“We look for a change in the spectral signature from before and after the storm,” said Chambers, a scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Area as well as an associate professor of geography at UC Berkeley. “When the sunlight bounces off green vegetation it looks one way, and when it’s bouncing off vegetation where the leaves are all stripped off or trees have toppled it’s very different. We find dramatic changes in the spectral signature of the forests associated with damage, tree mortality, uprooted trees, stripped leaves, and canopies.”
A preprint of their study, “Hurricane Maria Impacts on Puerto Rican Forests,” has been published online. “Mapping disturbance impacts and publishing results can take years,” said Yanlei Feng, a UC Berkeley graduate student in geography who is the study’s first author. “This new approach employing the Google Earth Engine platform enables the delivery of data products that are more timely; for use in hazard assessments, for example.”
The researchers estimate that 23 to 31 million trees may have been killed or severely damaged by Hurricane Maria but note that field investigations are required to attain more accurate estimates. A similar analysis they conducted after Hurricane Katrina estimated that 320 million trees died or were severely damaged in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Why study tropical forests?
Forests cover about 54 percent of Puerto Rico, and they are the only tropical forests in the United States outside of Hawaii. However, unlike Hawaii, which has few native tree species, Puerto Rico’s forests are much more diverse, with hundreds of species.
Berkeley Lab has been studying Puerto Rico’s forests for several years as part of the Department of Energy’s Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments-Tropics (NGEE-Tropics) initiative, a multi-institutional project launched in 2015 and led by Berkeley Lab. “One of our goals is to demonstrate that tropical forests are important to the U.S.,” Chambers said.
Studying and understanding forest disturbances is important for many reasons, including natural resource management, watershed protection and impacts on soil erosion, and examining the direct effects of tree-falls on the energy distribution grid. Tropical forests are especially important because, even though they cover only 7 percent of the Earth’s surface, they contain the largest vegetation carbon stocks, and are also important carbon sinks.
As part of NGEE-Tropics, Berkeley Lab has been studying the forests in Puerto Rico as a pilot study site to help improve modeling of the Earth system. “Fluxes of water, energy, carbon, and the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients are all highest in the tropics,” Chambers said. “So if you want to build an accurate Earth system model, you’ve got to get the tropics right.”
Advanced image processing
The Berkeley Lab researchers looked at images from Landsat 8, a satellite that takes detailed images of the entire Earth every 16 days, comparing images from before and after the hurricanes and eliminating effects due to clouds and shadows.
Data is collected by Landsat 8 as images of 30-square meter pixels. The researchers quantified the spectral signature of each forested pixel before and after the storms to determine the change in the fraction of the surface that is considered non-photosynthetic vegetation. They found that the damage was not evenly spread across the island’s forests.
“The intensity of the spectral shift varied a lot across the island,” Chambers said. “Now we want to better understand why some forests were more vulnerable than others, and what factors controlled the differences in how forests were impacted. Was it the species, was it the slope, was it the aspect – whether you’re on the windward or lee side as the storm is rotating counterclockwise? The soil type and rooting depth are also important factors.”
For example, cypress and tupelo trees in Louisiana weathered Hurricane Katrina just fine. “The oak trees right next door all went down,” Chambers said. “Cypress trees have buttressing and rooting structures which confer resistance to wind.”
Carbon source or carbon sink?
Forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by photosynthesis. When storms, fires, or other disturbances kill a great number of trees, the dead biomass is decomposed by fungi, insects, and the like, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When tree mortality is especially high, a forest can go from being a carbon sink to a carbon source.
But Chambers points out that it can take decades for a tree to decompose and emit all its carbon. “All forests are disturbed every year at some background rate; carbon cycle changes occur if this background rate increases as storms become more frequent or intense,” he said. And Puerto Rico has experienced devastating hurricanes before, including the 1928 San Felipe Segundo hurricane, which was even stronger than Maria, as well as hurricanes Georges in 1998 and Hugo in 1989.
Another recent NGEE-Tropics study found Puerto Rico’s subtropical dry forests will remain resilient to hurricanes. However, if hurricane frequency increases significantly, forests will not have enough time to regenerate. “If the return frequency of a disturbance increases, you can get long-term decline in total carbon storage,” Chambers said.
Explore further: The effect of hurricanes on Puerto Rico’s dry forests
More information: Yanlei Feng et al. Rapid remote sensing assessment of impacts from Hurricane Maria on forests of Puerto Rico, PeerJ (2018). DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.26597v1
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-03-impact-hurricanes-puerto-rico-forests.html#jCp
Hurricane Maria Hit Women in Puerto Rico the Hardest. And They’re the Ones Building It Back.
11 March 18
fter Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, Adi Martínez-Román’s morning routine went something like this: Wake up at 5 a.m., secure a water cistern on her roof to prevent it from leaking, fill her generator with gasoline and turn it on to power her refrigerator, get ready for work, turn the generator off to conserve gas. (Her fridge would have enough juice to keep food cold through the afternoon.) Then she could finally head to her job providing others affected by the storm with legal services. After work came the hunt to get more gasoline to power the generator.
Martínez-Román considers herself lucky to have had a generator and a cistern. She was also fortunate that power was restored to her home by Thanksgiving, before much of the rest of the island. But even now she says the smell of gasoline triggers strong feelings about what she and other women have endured since the hurricane.
When superstorms make landfall, they often exacerbate existing inequities. Women typically pay a higher price during a storm and in its aftermath, with their lives and then with their labor. As Puerto Rico recovers from Hurricane Maria, women like Martínez-Román are doing double duty — leading community efforts to rebuild while managing households with fewer resources. As they do this, months without electricity to power modern conveniences like washing machines has led to bleeding hands and aching backs for women cleaning clothes by hand. Limited lighting at night makes public places feel less safe, and women say contractors brought in to repair the island’s infrastructure have sexually harassed them.
This week’s nor’easters dealt Puerto Rico a follow-up blow to Maria, as 30-foot swells — the largest waves the island has seen in more than a decade — led to a new round of evacuations on Monday. This comes after the Treasury Department delayed its latest disaster relief loan to the territory, which it’d already slashed in half.
In her role as the executive director of Fundación Fondo de Acceso a la Justicia in San Juan, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance to low-income families, Martínez-Román has found that that the extra burden placed on women after the storm has translated into leadership.
“The reality is that when you go to communities, mostly it is women as leaders and as community organizers,” Martínez-Román says. This is even more evident In Puerto Rico’s rural areas, where older matriarchs have stayed behind as family members have migrated to city centers or other parts of the U.S. for jobs. Over 300,000 people have migrated to Florida alone since Hurricane Maria.
In the rural locale of Mariana, known for the island’s annual breadfruit festival, Christine Nieves started a community kitchen with the help of elders — all women. Six months after the storm, Mariana, like roughly 12 percent of the island, still does not have electricity. Nieves is ecstatic that her organization, Proyecto Apoyo Mutuo Mariana (Project for Mutual Aid Mariana), recently received a donation of eight solar-powered washing machines (another woman in Connecticut donated the money to purchase them). They will make a tremendous difference for the women who volunteer in the project’s kitchen and help with the other social services they now provide.
Even in rural areas like Mariana, most families have access to a washing machine. But Nieves and others say the power outages turned the clock back, forcing women to take on arduous domestic duties that modern conveniences had eased. Nieves recalls one grandmother apologizing for not being able to help with the meals because her hands were raw from scrubbing clothes. Now, she and others can use the machines in exchange for their time and labor.
Christiana Smyrilli, a civil engineering Phd student at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., recently conducted a study in Puerto Rico on how water and sanitation issues might affect women and men differently. She found that the impact was greater on women because of their household responsibilities. Due to the delayed response in getting clean water to affected residents, men often were responsible for carrying water home from natural water sources or water tanks. But the work of cooking and cleaning and managing limited water supplies fell on women. And the stress of rationing took an emotional toll.
“To me it seemed the women had the physical burden, as well as more mental and psychological burden,” Smyrilli says.
The additional domestic work can make it more difficult for women to recover economically. Spending more time on chores and childcare (due to closed schools), means women have less time open to seek outside employment.
And the stress facing Puerto Rico’s women post-hurricane went beyond home life. The process of getting the territory’s power back has been tortured, and the U.S. has had a series of missteps with companies it has contracted with to provide aid and repair the power grid. The territory has seen an influx of people coming in to rebuild — and despite good intentions, problems have arisen.
“All of a sudden we had tons and tons and tons of men in our communities with big trucks that were really loud,” Nieves recalls. “They were nice when you talked to them, but there was also this weird undertone of ‘Are we going to get some while we are in Puerto Rico?’”
Nieves says she and her friends have encountered instances of sexual harassment, such as male contractors asking how “easy” Puerto Rican women are.
Sexual misconduct, of course, isn’t limited to contractors. After a natural disaster, threats to women’s safety can come from others in the affected population, and even from the aid community. A recent investigation into senior staff with the humanitarian organization OxFam showed workers purchasing sex from women after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. OxFam and others in the aid community have denounced the actions.
Grist spoke with OxFam’s program coordinator in Puerto Rico, Martha Thompson, about what the organization is doing to ensure the same behavior doesn’t happen in Puerto Rico. Thompson says the group is increasing its transparency, and it’s working with Cambridge’s Christiana Smyrilli to better understand the burdens women have faced so far during the recovery.
“We want to make sure people in our team have gone through the sexual-harassment training,” Thompson says.
Thompson is particularly worried about how prolonged blackouts can make women and children more vulnerable to sexual assault and domestic violence. “If you don’t have public lighting anywhere, you don’t have lighting in houses,” she explains. “Of course sexual assault is going to go up.”
When women have been displaced, separated from loved ones, and are taking shelter in crowded spaces where tensions are high, the risk of sexual violence heightens. In addition, the breakdown of infrastructure in a storm’s wake makes it more difficult for women to report violence or seek help.
After women came forward with reports of sexual assault in evacuation shelters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center partnered with several other U.S. organizations to set up a relief fund for victims. The fund is designed to help put safety nets back in place for survivors by providing aid to victims, repairing rape crisis centers, and helping their affected staff get back to work.
With last year’s unprecedented hurricane season, the fund — which had about $30,000 — was nearly depleted between Harvey, Irma, and Maria. “In the two to three months of those hurricanes, we spent more than had been spent in the entire history of the relief fund,” says Laura Palumbo, the center’s communications director.
After Hurricane Harvey, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center had to quickly raise money in order to provide just $5,000 each to its partners in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. And with the threat of a higher frequency of stronger storms in the future, thanks to climate change, a critical source of relief for women in disaster zones is being stretched far beyond its means.
“We would have never expected that after hearing from so many individuals and programs in Texas in critical need that we would then instantaneously have Hurricane Maria,” Palumbo says. “We’re now faced with this unfortunate situation of being at square one with raising funds for future disasters.
“That’s always a difficult position because you never know when a disaster will strike.”
Original article on https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/48904-hurricane-maria-hit-women-in-puerto-rico-the-hardest-and-theyre-the-ones-building-it-back