Puerto Rico: How You Can Help In The Aftermath of the Earthquakes
Puerto Rico has been hit by multiple earthquakes over the past week and a half (starting on December 28). The worst quake struck early Tuesday and was a 6.4 magnitude, and killed at least one person, injured at least nine and caused the power outage that has left hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. territory without electricity, according to Fox News. Fox also reports that the Tuesday morning quake was the strongest to hit Puerto Rico since a 7.3 hit it in October 1918.
As of press time (January 9), around a third of Puerto Rico’s population remains without electricity in the aftermath of the quakes. The island’s power authority said 600,000 customers have power, but around 900,000 people still don’t know when the lights will return, and more than 250,000 don’t have access to water, according to CBS News.
CBS also reports that the power plant in Guayanilla that generates more than a quarter of the island’s power has been severely damaged, and there’s disagreement about when it will be back up and running. Jose Ortiz, the CEO of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, says the plant “will be out for probably over a year.”
Meanwhile, according to the Washington Post, Puerto Rico is still waiting on more than $18 billion in federal funding that was designated after hurricanes struck more than two years ago.
So, how can you help? Here are a few organizations working on the island that need donations:
Donate to the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross is on the ground in Puerto Rico, working with local and federal workers to help people affected by the earthquakes, and their disaster workers are providing emotional support in areas of the island where multiple tremors have impacted people, many of whom are sleeping outdoors out of fear that their homes will collapse if another earthquake strikes. The Red Cross is also supporting government-operated shelters in Puerto Rico, and Red Cross workers are also distributing emergency supplies.
Donate to Americares: The organization deployed an emergency response team from its office in San Juan to Guánica to assist families displaced by the earthquakes. The team, which includes psychologists, a social worker and a counselor, will provide psychological first aid to children and adults temporarily staying in an emergency shelter. The health-focused relief and development organization is also prepared to deliver medicine and relief supplies and support health services for survivors.
Donate to Project Hope: They are sending volunteers and arming health care professionals with medicine, supplies and training to help sick and injured people affected by the quakes.
Donate to The World Central Kitchen: Their #ChefsForPuertoRico team is activating kitchens in Puerto Rico, and sending food trucks. In addition to cooking fresh meals, their team is handing out solar lamps provided by the Hispanic Federation in the hardest-hit communities.
Donate to the Hispanic Federation Unidos program: After Hurricane Maria, the Hispanic Federation launched the Unidos program for disaster relief, reaching 78 Puerto Rican municipalities by transporting first responders and providing food and water. The group is one of the biggest contributors to ongoing relief efforts in Puerto Rico, and has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.