In October, we donated the funds raised during our casual Fridays to United for Puerto Rico. We raised $200, and the company matched it for a total donation of $400. Rosalynn Davila, a Loiselle Insurance team member, has family in Puerto Rico affected by the hurricanes.
Despite the deteriorating conditions, the conditions in Puerto Rico receive little media attention. There’s little food and fuel, and 70% of the island is still without power. The entire island is under a dusk to dawn curfew and they only have spotty cell phone service. They must collect water from a natural spring created by mountain landslides west of San Juan.
Flooding threatens the population and authorities are trying to evacuate people downstream from the 1920s earthen dam on the Guajataca River, near collapse. Many streets are now impassable, with muddy rivers making it impossible to reach those in need. Thirteen people died after the hurricanes when Puerto Rico’s largest river, La Plata, flooded.
The island’s streets are still littered with debris, fallen trees, dislodged street signs, and power cables. Authorities estimate it will take months to restore power throughout the island.
The First Lady of Puerto Rico recognized the severity of the situation and established a government/private sector non-profit “United for Puerto Rico” (Unidos Por Puerto Rico). Their mission is to provide aid and support to those seriously affected by Hurricanes Irma and María.
All money collected for the charity goes directly to this work. The organization provides grants to active local organizations to address urgent and ongoing needs. Most recently, they awarded funds to three groups to rebuild 200 homes and to provide relief services in over 44 municipalities. This includes distributing non-perishable goods and preparing and distributing hot meals. They are also assisting 348 multiple sclerosis patients so they can get the care they need and helping Puerto Rican agencies access available federal programs and funds.
Since the situation in Puerto is dire, monetary donations are the best way to assist survivors. The airports, postal system, and distribution networks are working, but the demand is very high. There’s also a huge backlog of goods in transportation hubs. Puerto Rican ports permit daylight transit only due to water hazards. The airport is still under massive strain and humanitarian efforts take priority. It is a painfully slow process and as time passes the situation becomes more life-threatening.
Monetary donations allow United For Puerto Rico to buy supplies locally to support businesses to reduce transportation costs. You can donate via PayPal, credit card, or wire transfer on their website.