newpalm.gif (5880 bytes) 

Back to Hot Calaloo


Serious design flaw endangers house from hurricanes


Hurricanes Irma and Maria decimate Caribbean Islands


The devastation of Puerto Rico: 


Trump insults Puerto Rico

bullet Trump treatment of Puerto Rico sends message to the world
bullet Impact of the hurricanes on the rest of the Caribbean
bullet Hurricane relief
bullet Hurricane Relief Charities
bullet Increased likelihood of extreme hurricanes

UNDILUTED pays tribute to John Maxwell by featuring two previous columns by him from the Hot Calaloo UNDILUTED archives:


Hot Calaloo's Undiluted Vol. 15, "The Audacity of Hopelessness"


Hot Calaloo's Undiluted Vol. 14, "Cuba's Benevolence versus US Belligerence"



Boycott Money and Save Your Soul - Launching the Goodwill Revolution
by Michael I Phillips

List Price $11.95 (paperback)
Special Clearance

Not just a book but an invitation to join the Goodwill Revolution against an unfair, unjust and deceptive system that keeps the world poor and without hope. Find out how you can join, quit the rat race, and achieve a happier more meaningful life for yourself and others through goodwill to all.  
For more book info see

Buy through Paypal or  send check for $5 + $3 (shipping) to 
Hot Calaloo
PO Box 411
Columbia MD 21045, USA


cover River Woman by Donna Hemans ... $16.10
  The Rio Minho in Jamaica provides much more than a setting for this potent, accomplished debut by Jamaican-born Donna Hemans.


cover  For the Life of Laetitia by Trinidad -born Merle Hodge  Price: $10.54
a wonderful book about a young girl in the Carribean, the first of her family to go to secondary school.



October 5, 2017

Hurricane Special 

  Serious design flaw endangers house from hurricanes

With hurricanes becoming more powerful, I wondered if it is even feasible to live in the hurricane prone Caribbean. Will 90% destruction of homes be typical? Houses are particularly vulnerable to hurricanes because their roofs get blown off. I have thought long about this and have come up with  a simple fix for this problem. Save the roof, save the house.  Simply eliminate eaves from houses. Eliminate this overhang because the powerful winds get under it and just lift the roof off. Instead, make the roofs flush with the walls or even overlap the top of the exterior  walls, thus helping ot seal out the wind. So, instead of lifting the roof, it will just pass over it.  If eaves are essential for rain divertion from walls, then make them a flimsy breakaway attachment to the roof. I think all reconstruction should adopt this design. Even existing houses should modify their design right away and not wait for the next hurricane to do so. I think this design should be enforced by building code.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo


Hurricanes Irma and Maria decimate Caribbean Islands

Hurricanes Irma and Maria have decimated the Caribbean leaving behind a path of death and devastation like never before.  
As of September 30, hurricane Irma has caused at least 132 deaths: one in Anguilla, one in Barbados, three in Barbuda, four in the British Virgin Islands, 10 in Cuba, 11 in the French West Indies, one in Haiti, three in Puerto Rico, four on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten, 88 in the contiguous United States, four in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and two others in unknown locations in the Caribbean.

As of October 1, hurricane Maria has caused at least 78 deaths: 30 in Dominica, 5 in the Dominican Republic, 2 in Guadeloupe, 3 in Haiti, 34 in Puerto Rico, 1 in the United States Virgin Islands, and 3 in the contiguous United States. Initial assessments indicate catastrophic damage to Dominica, which suffered an island-wide communication blackout. The islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique also endured widespread flooding, damaged roofs and uprooted trees. Puerto Rico has suffered catastrophic damage, including destruction of its previously damaged electrical grid. Total losses from the hurricane are estimated at around $91 billion (2017 USD), mostly in Puerto Rico, making Maria's cost comparable to that of previous Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

Irma was a Category Five hurricane when it crashed through the Caribbean, killing at least 132 people. Small islands like St. Martin/St. Maarten, and the twin-island state of Barbuda and Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands have all suffered extensive damage.  It  also grazed Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti before pummeling parts of Cuba.  Although Irma only grazed Puerto Rico, Maria made a direct hit on the island with devastating consequences. 

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

The devastation of Puerto Rico

This American territory was mostly spared any major damage from Hurricane Irma, but the eye of Hurricane Maria made a direct hit on this island. Hurricane Maria slammed the US island territory before dawn Wednesday, September 20 as a category 4 hurricane.

Four days after Hurricane Maria destroyed what Hurricane Irma had spared, more than 10,000 homes are decimated, roads are blocked, bridges collapsed and there is no fresh water, fuel, power or phone service.

Across the island, streets were littered with debris from the storm, with toppled trees, street signs and power cables strewn everywhere. The torrential rain also turned some roads into muddy brown rivers, impassable to all but the largest of vehicles. Puerto Rico's electricity network has been crippled by the storm and engineers say it could take months for power to be fully restored.
A failed dam caused several towns to evacuate as some 70,000 people were ordered to evacuate their homes 2 days after  hurricane Maria  hit.

The Jones Act became a big obstacle so America suspended it. The Jones Act requires that all ships traveling between U.S. ports be made, owned, and crewed by Americans. So a ship from another country, or whose owners are from another country, cannot travel from port to port within the United States delivering or picking up goods. The Jones Act exists to boost the American shipping industry. It has long contributed to the dramatic costs of shipping to Puerto Rico. A New York Fed report from 2012 shows that it costs twice as much to ship something from a port in the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico as it does to ship to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic nearby. There are only a handful of Jones Act–compliant options, and that lack of competition allows U.S. shippers to charge much higher prices. This suspension allowed foreign owned ship to participate in the relief.

Leaders in Puerto Rico pleaded for federal help, which was slow in coming. The slow response did not seem to be accidental. There’s no more Trump resort in Puerto Rico, nor are there votes for Trump to court. Although they’re U.S. citizens who can vote in primary elections, Puerto Ricans can’t vote for president in the general election. In the 2016, 75 percent of Puerto Ricans voted for Marco Rubio in the Republican primary, only 14 percent supported Trump. Hillary Clinton got 61 percent of the Democratic vote. Puerto Rico makes news every few years when it considers statehood. A record-low voter turnout (23 percent) this summer voted overwhelmingly (97 percent) to become a U.S. state, 119 years after being annexed at the end of the Spanish-American War.

Still facing dangerous flooding and months without power, the island started receiving military and rescue flights from the US on Friday, Sept. 22. However most supplies remained stockpiled for many days because of lack of truck drivers, blocked roads and other distribution and communication problems.


 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Trump insults Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rossello said days after the hurricane attack he feared a "humanitarian crisis" on the island if the United States does not take "swift action. He pointed  out that Puerto Rico was already in a dire economic situation, with government debt surpassing $70 billion.

After facing blistering criticism for focusing much of his attention  on a bitter feud with NFL players instead of the ravaged US territory, President Donald Trump acknowledged that Puerto Rico was "in deep trouble."
The White House denied it had been slower to act following Hurricane Maria in overwhelmingly Hispanic Puerto Rico than in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey on the US mainland. But Representative Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, condemned the Trump administration's response to the crisis as "wholly inadequate."

"A territory of 3.5 million American citizens is almost completely without power, water, food and telephone service, and we have a handful of helicopters involved in DOD's response. It's a disgrace," he said.
San Juan’s mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, said the biggest need was getting emergency medication and supplies to vulnerable people who are stranded in their homes. The image of her wading chest-high into floodwaters  wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words "help us / we are dying" made a big impact. But the slow reaction shows that Puerto Rican lives, like black lives, do not matter much to Trump.

After Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Trump traveled to the state twice in one week. He also traveled to Florida after Irma, handing out sandwiches and stressing that restoring electricity was a priority. But, in Puerto Rico he threw out rolls of paper towels to people. How insulting!

San Juan Mayor Cruz described Trump's brief roundtable session with herself and other mayors as a "PR 17-minute meeting." She called out his comment about Hurricane Katrina being a "real catastrophe" compared to what happened to Puerto Rico. 
That an American president would slam a mayor of a U.S. territory for publicly requesting more federal aid and assistance is unthinkable.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Trump treatment of Puerto Rico sends message to the world

Trump’s treatment of Puerto Rico is not a surprise. His notorious Charlottesville rants exposed his racism for all the world to see.  Besides, his Muslim travel ban, his depiction of Mexicans as rapists, his anyi-immigrant stance are manifestations of his bias.

Donald Trump first publicly manifested his racism-based hatred of Obama by becoming a “birther”, claiming that Obama was not born in America, thus ineligible for the presidency. Trump soon became the champion of the Klu Klux Klan, other white racists, neo-Nazis, misogynists and all sorts of other social deplorables.

Trump has what I call ‘white appeal”. White people put the white racist president in the Whitehouse. An article in The Atlantic by Ta Nehisi Coates points out that:

"Trump’s dominance among whites across class lines is of a piece with his larger dominance across nearly every white demographic. Trump won white women (+9) and white men (+31). He won white people with college degrees (+3) and white people without them (+37). He won whites ages 18–29 (+4), 30–44 (+17), 45–64 (+28), and 65 and older (+19). “

 He recruited racists for the Whitehouse to carry out his racist agenda.  The person who speaks for America to the rest of the world is a racist. All the non-white world leaders from the Caribbean, South and Central America, Africa,  Asia. an array of countries all over the world, must now  deal with a white racist president of America.  Puerto Ricans had to deal with a white racist. So, I contend his inadequate and at times insulting  response to their humanitarian crisisthere was no accident. Our Caribbean leaders had better realize exactly what they are up against.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Impact of the hurricanes on the rest of the Caribbean

Little Barbuda probably got the worst of all. Irma reduced the 62-square-mile island to rubble forcing the evacuation of the entire population of about 2,000 mainly to Antigua.  Barbuda is part of the Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Despite having almost the entirety of its infrastructure and 95% of its homes destroyed, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has rejected a moratorium proposal to discuss the island’s US$3 million dollar debt.
Venezuela’s government contributed a cargo plane full of supplies, as well as medics and disaster relief workers, to the recovery effort on the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda after Hurricane Irma substantially damaged Barbuda.
 Persons seeking to send online donations to Barbuda can go to

Hurricane Maria left more than 15 people dead in hard-hit Dominica. Even its Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, lost the roof of his residence and had to be rescued. According to the Prime Minister, “we have no water, no electricity, very limited communications”. The main hospital is functioning without electricity. It is very difficult. There are no generators; they have been set aside because of the flooding”.
The Venezuelan government  airlifted 18 tons of humanitarian aid to the hurricane ravaged Caribbean island. They sent two planes with mattresses, medicine, water, food and special tents for medical assistance. In addition, A team of forty Venezuelan rescue workers, doctors, and damage assessment personnel has also been sent to the island. 

St. Thomas
There was sweeping damage all over the island after Hurricane Irma, with many residents in shelters or evacuated to the U.S. mainland.. 

St. John
The smallest and most remote of the U.S. Virgin Islands was stripped of most of its signature beauty by Hurricane Irma as trees and parks have been demolished. Half of the population has evacuated.

Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos
Three British territories — Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos — were all badly damaged by Irma.
On Anguilla Irma damaged 90% of homes and stranded 15,000 people on the island leaving them dependent on humanitarian aid for their basic needs.
on the British Virgin Islands, Large-scale destruction from Hurricane Irma has wiped out most of the island’s infrastructure. The islands were spared the worst from Hurricane Maria but received high winds and rain.
After much criticism, British Prime Minister Theresa May upped the country’s aid package for the region to US$42.1 million. UK Defence Minister Michael Fallon said that hundreds of troops, engineers and other additional resources would also be provided.

St. Martin/St. Maarten
In the French-Dutch island of St Martin, Irma killed 15 people. In addition to homes and roads. Irma destroyed beachfront hotels and restaurants, and it is painfully obvious that the tourists — and their badly needed cash — will not be back any time soon. 
It would be impossible to repair St Martin's roads and buildings — damage estimated at US$1.2 billion or more — before the high season, which usually starts in November and runs until April.
With barely any tourist dollars set to flow in over the coming months, overseas island territories — legacies of European empires — are looking to central governments for desperately needed funds. The shared French and Dutch island has very little water or power.

St. Barts
The former luxury playground has been reduced to bent palm trees and rubble by Hurricane Irma but reports that electricity and water was restored  relatively soon afterwards.

On Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, its  northern territories took a substantial hit from Irma, with reports of major flooding in the capital Havana. Most people in Cuba's coastal area live in one-story homes, putting them at great risk as floodwaters rose to roof level in some places. Many residents had left town before the storm hit.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Hurricane relief

Cuba has sent medical brigades to six of the countries in the subregion that, in recent days, have been or will be in the the tropical storm’s orbit. Those islands include Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Bahamas, Dominica and Haiti. More than 750 Cuban physicians have been dispatched to several Caribbean islands in the wake of Hurricane Irma’s destruction.

Cruise giant Royal Caribbean on Sunday canceled two sailings of Florida-based ships, the 1,840-passenger Empress of the Seas and  the 2,350-passenger Majesty of the Seas to divert the vessels to Irma relief efforts to Irma-ravaged St. Thomas and St. Maarten. They evacuated several thousand travelers and droped-off water, food, ice and other provisions.

 Since the beginning of the Hurricane Irma disaster relief effort, Marines have successfully evacuated 1,600 citizens stranded on Caribbean islands that took Irma’s full impact, and delivered more than 52,000 pounds of supplies and equipment here. Around 10,000 Defense Department personnel provided support to response operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The personnel are delivering food and water to citizens, as well as supporting authorities with the combined goal of protecting the lives and safety of those in affected areas.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Hurricane Relief Charities

Catholic Relief Services

Caribbean Hurricane Maria and Irma Relief by Global Giving

Dominica Hurricane Relief Fund

Save the Children will lead relief efforts for families and children impacted by the hurricane in the region.

The first lady of Puerto Rico Beatriz Rosselló and a group of companies created Unidos por Puerto Rico to help the victims of the storm.

The NGO Team Rubicon is recruiting volunteers and monitoring the situation in the region.

Catholic Charities USA is assisting with recovery efforts in the Caribbean.

The disaster-relief organization All Hands is sending volunteers to the U.S. Virgin Islands to assist with relief efforts

. In Barbuda. Persons seeking to send online donations can go to


 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Increased likelihood of extreme hurricanes

According to  Physicians for Social Responsibility, scientists can't say with cause-and-effect certainty what causes any individual hurricane or other weather event. But they can tell us what increased the likelihood that Harvey and Irma would occur: climate change. As climate change raises global temperatures, including that of the ocean, more water evaporates into the atmosphere. The more warming, the more evaporation; the more evaporation, the more fuel for powerful storms. In addition, the rising sea level caused by melting polar ice—another outcome of climate change—contributed to unprecedented sea surge in places like Jacksonville, FL.

That means a future of increasing likelihood of catastrophic hurricanes and storms. 

To reduce that likelihood, we must address the underlying cause of climate change: emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. As PSR members know, the tremendous increase in global levels of those gases comes from combustion of fossil fuels – coal, methane (natural gas), and oil.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Let us know what you think. Email us at