Things That Matter

A Warehouse Full Of Forgotten Supplies From 2017 Was Just Found In Puerto Rico After More Than 1000 Earthquakes Hit The Island

Over the past two and a half weeks, Puerto Rico has experienced more than 1000 earthquakes. This number may seem unbelievable, but it’s true: after a 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit the island on January 7—the largest earthquake to hit Puerto Rico in more than a century—aftershocks have continued to jolt the island, leaving hundreds of people homeless, lacking supplies and electricity. Among the aftershocks was January 11’s 5.9 magnitude quake, which caused even further devastation, particularly to the southern part of the island. So far, the earthquakes have cost an estimated $200 million in damages, including the destruction of more than 800 homes.

But the damage hasn’t only been structural—several people are experiencing extreme anxiety as tremors continue to strike the island.

Credit: Facebook / ASSMCA Online

Officials from ASSMCA, Puerto Rico’s  Office of Mental Health Services and Addiction Prevention, have been making their rounds at outdoor shelters where displaced individuals and families have taken refuge, offering mental health support to those most affected by the quakes.

“These aftershocks are triggers for people,” Abdiel Dumeng, an ASSMCA employee, said in Spanish in an interview.”But I have to admit that we’ve seen a decrease in these kinds of crises, because we’ve been working together for a while, teaching people how to stay calm.”

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), aftershocks will continue to decrease in frequency over the next month and will be exponentially “lower in magnitude”. But in the meantime, Puerto Rico’s Office of Emergency Management estimates that more than 8,000 people are staying in these outdoor shelters—fewer than half are in government-run shelters, while the rest are taking refuge in either informal spaces or shelters run by non-government organizations.

What exactly constitutes an “informal” shelter? Well, some folks have simply taken their beds outside, staying close to home while avoiding the potential dangers of being indoors. Others are crashing with relatives in towns that have experienced less damage than other areas.

Credit: StarTribune

In response to the 5.9 earthquake on January 11, Governor Wanda Vázquez said that she had declared a major state emergency following an initial assessment of the damages incurred. Vázquez also announced the immediate disbursement of $2 million for the towns of Guánica, Utuado, Guayanilla, Peñuelas, Ponce and Yauco, which experienced the most damage due to their proximity to the earthquakes’ epicenter. This $2 million was defined as a way to meet the towns’ most urgent needs—but now, ten days later, la gente está harta, because these needs still haven’t been met.

Just a few days ago, Vázquez fired two high-ranking officials in her administration: Housing Secretary Fernando Gil and Department of Family Secretary Glorimar Andújar. She also fired former Emergency Management Director Carlos Acevedo. The Governor’s reason for the dismissals was an alleged lack of information regarding aid collection and distribution centers.

This lack of information had to do with the discovery of a warehouse in Ponce that was filled with seemingly forgotten disaster supplies. But these supplies were not sent in response to the current crisis—they date back to when Hurricane Maria (a Category 4 storm) hit the island in September 2017.

Credit: Carlos Giusti / Associated Press

And people are understandably angry. On January 20, scores of demonstrators gathered in front of the Governor’s mansion in San Juan to demand her resignation. While the Governor seems to have tried addressing the issue with the dismissals mentioned above, several people are accusing her of not taking accountability for this appalling error, urging her to step down. And with demonstrators vowing to stay in the streets until Vázquez steps down, the current situation looks a lot like last summer’s demonstrations, which ultimately caused Governor Ricardo Rosselló to resign.

When asked by NBC News what the “human impact” of this mistake is, Rafael Gonzalez—President of PROFESA, a Puerto Rican Professional Association that delivered aid during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria—said, “We saw it on [sic] Maria. We saw what happens when you don’t deliver the supplies that people need. People die.”

Indeed, more than 3,000 people died as a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria (not to mention highly insufficient disaster response on the part of the United States government). At this point, the recent series of earthquakes has resulted in one death and nine injuries. In an attempt to keep that number from rising, Jennifer Gonzales, Puerto Rico’s Commissioner to Congress, joined forces with five other members of Congress to send a letter to Donald Trump, asking him to sign a major disaster declaration that would bring federal funding to the recovery effort.

On January 16, Donald Trump responded by designating six hard-hit towns in the southern part of the island as major disaster areas. Hopefully this will result in an appropriate disaster response—one that will not negligently result in more forgotten aid.

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Nanny Cam Footage Shows Months of Torture and Child Abuse that Led to the Death of 9-Year-Old Emrik Osuna

Things That Matter

Nanny Cam Footage Shows Months of Torture and Child Abuse that Led to the Death of 9-Year-Old Emrik Osuna

Photo via GoFundMe

A tragic story of child abuse out of Idaho has been rocking the nation. After weeks of starvation, beatings, and torture at the hands of his father and stepmother, 9-year-old Emrik Osuna died from his injuries.

This week, an Idaho judge ruled that there is enough evidence for the Erik and Monique Osuna’s murder trials to proceed.

Police found nanny cam footage that was evidence of the torture that Emrik faced for months. The footage shows months of endless forced exercise, physical and verbal abuse, and the systematic starvation of the little boy. Footage shows his stepmother pulling him from the ground by the hair and “swinging him around like a rag doll”. It also captures her beating him with a pan and cursing at him.

Prosecutors say that Emrik was fed only a diet of rice and water the weeks before he died. Emrik’s parents also forced him to sleep on the floor or in a hall closet. By the time his lifeless body was taken to the hospital on September 1st, 2020, he was practically skeletal.

“The little boy had bruises all over his body, specifically on his buttocks, groin, legs and torso,” said prosecutor Tamara Kelly. “Some of the bruises were extremely large and essentially covered the back of his body.”

The couple is facing respective first-degree murder charges. Erik Osuna, the 9-year-old’s biological father, is also facing charges of evidence tampering, inflicting bodily injury and injury to a child. According to reports, the boy’s stepmother, Monique Osuna, was the primary abuser of Emrik. However, Erik rarely, if ever, intervened to help his son.

The day that Emrik’s health declined rapidly, his parents hesitated to take him to the hospital out of fear. Hours before Emrik died, Erik Osuna allegedly texted his wife, Monique, saying, “I know you are scared. I am too.”

Emrik Osuna’s relatives are shocked and heartbroken at the tragic death of the 9-year-old boy.

“I just started bawling, started crying – I just can’t believe it,” said Marie Osuna, Emrik’s aunt, about when she first heard of his death. “It just shocks me. I don’t know how anybody can do that to a child.”

According to relatives, Emrik’s mother also abused him and his twin siblings before police arrested her. Marie Osuna said that Emrik’s father was “in and out of his life” for years before gaining full custody of him. In the meantime, Marie Osuna took care of Emrik in Orange County.

“He was just like one of our own. He loved us. He would call me mom,” Marie Osuna told KTBV 7. “He was just a good kid, he was happy. I just don’t understand what happened.”

“Why would they starve him like that?” she asked. “What did he do to deserve to be starved or even to be hit, like a dog? He just needed love. He just needed love, that’s it, and to feel safe.”

If you believe someone you know is experiencing–or committing–child abuse, there are resources to help. Call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. Staying vigilant could help save a child like Emrik’s life.

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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Alex Wong / Getty

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz are at it again on Twitter. This time it’s about immigration policy. After recently traveling to the US-Mexican border to underline the recent rise in immigration, Cruz accused AOC of pushing for a “full open borders” policy.

And of course, AOC got him with some solid zingers.

AOC in turn hit back at Cruz for recently fleeing his home state of Texas during its power grid collapse to vacation in Cancún.

In response to Cruz’s attack, AOC suggested Mexico avoid allowing Cruz in the next time he attempts to vacation there. She also called on him to resign from office for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“Ted, this is pretty rich coming from someone who fled their own home (and responsibilities) during an environmental crisis to cross the border and seek refuge in Mexico,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Also you funded cages, expanded cages, and yet you’re complaining about cages. You have no policy, just puff.”

Ocasio-Cortez accused Republicans of hypocritically attacking the current administration’s detention of migrant children at the border after they supported President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant parents from their children.

Currently, Democrats like AOC are calling on Biden to impliment more liberal immigration policies.

Republicans have strongly expressed their dislike for the recent rise in migrants which has come as a result of Biden’s reversal of Trump’s most rigid border policies.

AOC is currently a co-sponsor of the Roadmap to Freedom resolution. The resolution calls on the Federal Government to develop and implement a Roadmap to Freedom “in order to overhaul the outdated immigration system in the United States that has gone without significant reform for decades, and to relieve the great human impact an unjust system bears on communities around the country.”

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