Hundreds of people have been evacuated or rescued in Puerto Rico’s southwestern coastal communities, and others on the island and in the Dominican Republic remain at risk as Hurricane Fiona continues to devastate the area.
Most of the Caribbean island was left without power and water after the hurricane made landfall Sunday with winds of 85 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center, and a historic amount of rain.
Rainfall from the cyclone continued on Monday, prompting the National Hurricane Center to express concern about additional effects such as life-threatening flood conditions, river overflow and debris flow.
Tuesday’s storm dumped 30 inches of rain in the Dominican Republic, causing floods and mudslides. The country is still dealing with a storm that has already left a million people without running water.
Hurricane Fiona dealt a devastating blow to Puerto Rico five years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the island just weeks ago in 2017. Those storms destroyed the power grid and killed nearly 3,000 people.
The island is still working to recover from previous storms. More than 3,000 homes to this day only have a blue tarp as a roof.
The American Red Cross, Project Hope, and a number of other US and international relief groups are raising funds to help the islands. In addition, many Puerto Rican organizations that have been helping their communities since 2017 need help now to continue their work. Here’s how to get involved in those local efforts.
What it does: Taller Salud is a feminist, community-based nonprofit organization in Puerto Rico dedicated to improving women’s access to health care, reducing violence in community settings and promoting economic development through education and activism.
How you can help: The nonprofit is currently accepting items and funds for hurricane-affected people. Required items include non-perishable food, toiletries, sunlamps, and water and water filters. It can be mailed to their offices:
Street 1 d 40
Urb Jardines de Loiza, PR 00772
Carr 187 km 24.4 Plots Vieques
#33 medium high
Louisa, PR 00772.
Cash donations are also accepted via PayPal and Network for Good.
what’s he doing: The Happy Givers is a non-profit organization that directly manages and assists the home rebuilding program in Puerto Rico and provides relief work for natural disasters. (She also runs a children’s home in Peru.)
How you can help: The Foundation is currently accepting donations as it prepares to host and feed families on its campus. You can support The Happy Givers’ efforts by purchasing an item from their online store; 100% of proceeds go toward rebuilding projects in Puerto Rico. When it’s safe, they also encourage volunteers to stay on campus and help out with light construction or cooking, for example.
Love Footsteps Foundation
what’s he doing: The nonprofit serves Puerto Rican seniors and families with food, home furnishings, and mental health support, all with the goal of improving quality of life.
How you can help: Julio Enrique Soto Cuban, president and founder of the organization, took to Facebook to invite the community to check on seniors. The organization accepts cash donations to continue its work.
Western Solidarity Brigade
what’s he doing: The group is a community initiative (a “mutual help” group) in Puerto Rico made up of leaders from different organizations and communities. Its goal is to strengthen community self-management and develop ways to solve problems without government assistance.
How you can help: La Brigada Solidaria del Oeste and allied organizations are working to revitalize the mutual support network in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona. The group accepts financial donations to provide direct assistance to affected communities.
Volunteer organizations in Puerto Rico active in disasters
what’s he doing: Voluntary organizations in Puerto Rico active in disasters are a subsidiary of the national group VOAD. The mission of the local chapter is to strengthen the capacities of organizations working together in the territory to respond to disaster-affected communities.
How you can help: The organization welcomes volunteers, but requires you to contact its office first by calling 787-330-0382 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. After the organization has had the opportunity to assess the damage and identify unmet needs, they will match you up with a trusted VOAD member from Puerto Rico to work with – so be patient.
It also accepts financial donations to support its members on the ground.
what’s he doing: The Spanish Federation seeks to empower and support the Hispanic community and strengthen Latino institutions through disaster relief, college success programs, nonprofit advocacy, public education, and nonpartisan national civic engagement. The UNIDOs Disaster Relief and Recovery Program serves the immediate and long-term needs of families and communities in Puerto Rico.
How you can help: The organization is currently accepting financial donations for emergency services and supplies directly to Puerto residents affected by Hurricane Fiona. You can make a one-time donation or a monthly donation.
what’s he doing: Direct Relief works in the United States and internationally to expand access to medicines and health care by providing doctors and nurses with life-saving medical resources. They proactively provide emergency medicine with health facilities in hurricane-prone areas of the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean.
How you can help: The organization accepts one-time or monthly cash donations to support their efforts in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean countries affected by Fiona.
Diaspora of Puerto Rico, Inc.
what’s he doing: The New York City-based nonprofit was created by Puerto Ricans who moved to the United States in the past decade. It seeks to promote well-being, self-sufficiency, and empowerment of the Puerto Rican community through access to information about services, organizations, events, and contacts in order to create a support network.
How you can help: She is currently collecting cash donations to support those affected by Hurricane Fiona on the island, with a goal of raising $50,000 in donations.
You can also purchase items from the nonprofit Amazon’s Wish List, such as portable solar generators, emergency radios, portable fans, and solar chargers.
stronger than maria
what’s he doing: Stronger Than Maria is a non-profit organization created to improve the standard of living for those affected by Hurricane Maria in 2017. This was done by rebuilding homes, distributing food and water, providing necessary household items, and providing financial assistance to families in need.
How you can help: She is currently providing disaster relief in Puerto Rico and needs support. The nonprofit accepts financial donations through PayPal.
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