Hurricane Maria has wrecked the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, causing a near shut-down of the island's economy and leaving most of its 3.4 million citizens without power and other vital goods and services.
But as contributions soar to homegrown fundraising efforts for victims of Sunday's Las Vegas shooting, those devastated by Maria have seen comparatively small donations especially when compared to money raised for those affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, according to groups contacted by USA TODAY.
— The Red Cross reports that it has collected $350 million in donations and pledges so far to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey, which slammed Houston and environs. It has received $45 million for Irma victims, and $9 million for Maria.
More from USA Today:
Puerto Ricans say Trump's visit helps recovery but comments are too political
Behind the Story: Reporting from the eye of Hurricane Maria
6 reasons why Puerto Rico slid into financial crisis
— Catholic Charities reports that it has distributed $2 million to its agencies in Texas, $2.4 million in Florida $10,000 in Louisiana and $1.2 million to Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands.
— U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation statistics indicate that so far corporations have donated $270.8 million for Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief efforts in cash and in-kind donations, while the Maria tally currently stands at $32.4 million.
Why the big Maria gap?
Those raising money say a prime reason for lower Maria numbers has to do with its damage coming after devastating storms hit the U.S. mainland in Texas and Florida, which means donors are more apt to be either financially or even emotionally tapped out.
Media attention is also a huge factor in generating contributions, and the supersaturated coverage that greeted Harvey and Irma tapered for Maria.
Puerto Rico's woes now also sit in the shadow of the mass killings in Las Vegas on Sunday, which left 59 innocent people dead and hundreds wounded. Tellingly, Americans, who remain riveted by the tragedy of the event so far have donated $8.5 million to a GoFundMe campaign started by Las Vegas local Steve Sisolak.
And while the word "racism" is brushed aside as inappropriate by most relief organization experts, many are quick to admit that having some sort of personal or cultural connection to disaster victims often drives the levels of funding. Of note is a recent poll by Morning Consult revealed that half of respondents were not aware that Puerto Ricans were U.S. citizens.