The Tesla motor company is sending batteries to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico to help with the humanitarian aid effort on the hurricane-stricken island. Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria last week, and has been in dire condition ever since, with the vast majority of island residents lacking water, food, and electricity.
The battery pack in question is called the Powerwall, an in-home electricity solution that could hugely benefit people whose homes have been knocked off the power grid. Besides gasoline-fueled generators that are keeping power on at hospitals, the entire island is basically without power, and that could reportedly take months to fix.
Without electricity, what food the 3.4 million residents of Puerto Rico have stored in their homes can’t be refrigerated, making supply shortages worse. The government of Puerto Rico has been desperate for humanitarian aid since the storm hit, in particular San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who begged the public and the U.S. federal government for help saying, “save us from dying.”
According to Business Insider, Tesla employees are actually on the ground in Puerto Rico, helping to install hundreds of the battery packs, as well as performing repairs to damaged solar panels. Hurricane Maria was a category 4 storm when it slammed into the island, leading to one of the worst humanitarian crises there in modern history.
The disaster has been followed by criticism and scrutiny directed towards President Donald Trump over his personal reaction to the crisis, as well as the slow reaction of the federal government. Trump lashed out at Cruz on Twitter over her pleas for more aid, attacking her for “poor leadership ability” on Saturday, and claiming that “they want everything done for them.”