The view from the author's home in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Image courtesy of Clara Lucio.
I, and Puerto Ricans all over the world, are heartbroken by the humanitarian crisis following one of the most destructive natural disasters in recent memory. Hurricane Maria left an estimated $30+ billion worth of damage in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Less than 5% of the 3.5m residents have electricty and it will be months before it's restored. According to the Defense Department, at least 44% of the island's residents don't have access to potable water and Three Star General Lt Gen Jeffrey Buchanan says the damage in Puerto Rico is “the worst he has ever seen”.
As the resilient people that we are, Puerto Ricans are coming together to help each other through this crisis, but we need your help returning the island to its splendor, despite what the naysayers might say.
If you are looking to help the cause, please consider taking any or all of the steps below.
No amount is too small.
UnidosporPuertoRico: This fund, created by Beatriz Rosselló, the first lady of Puerto Rico, is taking the lead in syncing government and private-sector relief efforts.
Puerto Rico Recovery Fund: Organized by a Puerto Rican NGO and focused on the economic development of the island, 100% of donations go toward victim relief.
PRxPR: A private, non-partisan, no overhead fund to aid in the rebuilding of PuertoRico by investing in communities with the most critical needs.
Mariafund: This fund is run by local grassroots organizations in PR.
If you live in New York City, consult this article for a comprehensive list of drop-off locations. The most in-demand items include bottled water, water filters, diapers, batteries, canned or dry food, baby formula, towels, garbage bags, mosquito repellent, first aid kit, pillows, detergent, dish soap, feminine hygiene products, pain relief medicine, extension cords, and cots.
Despite the damage, Puerto Rico has notoriously received less coverage from traditional news outlets. It's important to continue to share coverage on Puerto Rico so Puerto Ricans get the help they so desperately need.
Take part in raising awareness by using #UnidosPorPR, #UnitedForPR, #MariaPR, and #PrayForPuertoRico when sharing helpful articles or donation efforts on your social platforms. Help others remain informed by sharing these two pieces of content: How to Help Puerto Rico And Other Islands After Hurricane Maria, or link to CBS News Correspondent Mark Begnaud on FB. He is on the ground and has some really comprehensive coverage.
Dear Congressman X/Senator Y
My name is [NAME], and I’m calling to express concern regarding the current humanitarian crisis taking place in Puerto Rico. It is critical that you take steps to provide immediate emergency supplies and funding for Puerto Rico.
Will you publicly commit to supporting the island's immediate and long term recovery? As your constituent, I am counting on your support.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue."
No action or effort is too small. Thank you for helping Puerto Rico.