Puerto Rico Still Needs Help More Than Six Months After Maria
More than six months after Hurricane Maria nearly wiped out the island of Puerto Rico, the people are still in desperate need of help. Roughly one third of the island is still without power, and Puerto Rico still needs help with food and clean water after the storm.
The category 5 hurricane damaged more than 3.4 million residential homes and more than 121,000 are still lacking electricity. Puerto Rican officials have criticized the federal government for their response to the disaster. Volunteers and nonprofit groups have also spoken up about the lack of improvement, and their resources are often stretched thin among the millions of survivors on the island.
Interim director for Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority Justo Gonzalez said that he expects the power to be restored to the entire island by May. The communities on the island are still facing other problems, not including their lack of electricity. Suicide rates have gone up, many residents are unable to file claims to repair their homes, crops have been completely destroyed, and food shortages continue to be an issue.
Fortunately, there are ways you can make a difference There are several local and national organizations that allow you to make donations and volunteer to help the people of Puerto Rico. You can read the full list here.
These organizations allow you to donate items like flashlights, solar batteries and lamps, collapsible coolers, money, water, and food. Remember to use a combination of insulated packaging and dry ice when shipping perishable food to preserve it for 24 to 48 hours if you plan to ship food on your own. These organizations will probably help you with all the logistics.
One group in particular, Taller Salud, offers massage therapy to residents dealing with stress, anxiety, and health issues due to Hurrican Maria. They also stock food, over-the-counter medicine, and hygiene products. They started out as an organization dedicated to women’s empowerment and health in the municipality of Loiza, but they decided to step up and help after the hurricane.
This provides many of the islands hope that people are still willing to help them while they are still suffering more than six months later. If you want to help in any way, reach out to one of these organizations for more information.