It’s been a few months since Hurricane Maria and Irma devastated Puerto Rico, and the island is nowhere close to where it was before the storms. Thankfully, groups and organizations from the U.S. the rest of the world are able to lend a helping hand to assist the island’s citizens to get back on their feet and rebuild their communities.
Recently, President Trump made it easier for countries to deliver aid shipments to Puerto Rico, just one of the steps the U.S. has taken.
The value of freight being moved across the world has significant gone up in recent years, but after major storms like Irma and Maria, global shipments happen much more frequently. There are approximately 6 million worldwide shipping containers in use, transporting everything from retail products and food to medications and clothing. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the value of freight moved is actually excepted to increase from $882 per ton back in 2007 to approximately $1,377 per ton in 2040.
In York County, a fundraiser has been organized to collect both money and necessary supplies that will be shipped directly to Puerto Rico after the 21-day period of donations has finished.
The fundraising effort — called “Puerto Rico Rises” or “Puerto Rico Se Levanta” — is being spearheaded by officials at the York County School of Technology, the York City Bureau of Health, and Centro Hispano Jose Hernandez. It’s just one of the many such fundraisers taking place around North America right now.
“All the things we’re doing is to let Puerto Ricans know that they’re not forgotten,” said Delma Rivera, a fundraising event organizer.
According to Relief Web, in addition to supplies and monetary donations, Puerto Rico is still in dire need of medicine and other medical equipment.
A shipment of over 100 pallets equipped with emergency medical supplies landed at the ABF Freight Warehouse in San Juan, Puerto Rico right before the New Year. In late December and early January, health providers and representatives from participating healthcare companies gathered necessary supplies and medications before various other shipments were departed to clinics across the island.
“We felt that we owed it to the patients to help them in these terrible times,” said Marirosa Rosado of Eli Lilly. “We were really proud to help.”
Along with Eli Lilly, many other healthcare organizations helped with these medical supply shipments and provided much-needed medical assistance throughout the island. Merck, BD, GSK, Henry Schein, Sanofi, and Mylan (and more) were all part of the recent round of medical supply shipments.
“It’s a very good example of what we can do even in the worst times,” added Jose Ramirez of GSK.
Though this latest round of shipments won’t solve all Puerto Rico’s medical issues, more medicine on the island will certainly help local clinics and medical professionals.
Though money, medicine, and other donations are perhaps more important for Puerto Rico to build itself back up, coffee and other agricultural products are also essential.
Heater reports that the island lost $45 million of net produce after Hurricane Irma struck and an additional $200 million following Hurricane Maria.
Specialty coffee is considered the highest quality in the world and represents roughly 37% of all coffee consumed in the United States. Specialty coffee has been great for Puerto Rico as well, but the hurricanes completely devastated the island’s coffee market.
Flores Otero, the Secretary of Agriculture of Puerto Rico, said that the Puerto Rican coffee industry lost half of its plants and could take more than three years to return to anywhere close to the same level of output.
“This is by far the worst agricultural catastrophe in the history of Puerto Rico,” Otero added.
Thankfully, another relief fund has been established to provide assistance to farmers across Puerto Rico.
The Puerto Rico Farm Bureau created the Puerto Rico Agricultural Relief Fund after the storms destroyed roughly 80% of the entire island’s farm production.
“Many farmers and ranchers in Puerto Rico face an unprecedented challenge to return their land to production and rebuild infrastructure,” said Puerto Rico Farm Bureau President Hector Ivan Cordero. “The disaster will affect our farm and ranch families for many years, but our will to overcome the damage is strong.”