The past few weeks have been quite the nightmare in terms of natural disasters. As we all know, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and most recently, Maria have had the most devastating effects over South Texas, Florida, the Caribbean Islands; with Puerto Rico possibly being the worst hit.
Unlike the other Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico was hit by a double tragedy. Barely a week after the hurricane Irma that affected the larger part of Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico was hit by another Hurricane Maria. The hurricane Maria has been described as the worst the country has seen in over a century. The devastating results of these events are worse that can be told.
I just had the chance to visit Rincon, Puerto Rico earlier this summer and, along with other friends of mine, I have not been able to reach any of my new friends or contacts there. Basically, nearly 80% of the country is without electricity or internet connection. The entire land has been swept and nearly all the food crops and foods stores have been damaged by water. The Hurricane is reported to have killed 16 people which are the known cases up to now. Puerto Rico faces a crisis due to lack of food, clean water, medical supplies, household supplies, and information media among others. The situation is worse because there is no way of passing information. The power grid destruction means that most people have no access to television, Radio or phones, making it difficult to pass information or for people to find each other. While there are so many questions about what our government is actually doing to help, what I do know is that the situation in Puerto Rico is dire and needs urgent humanitarian help and wherever we can stand up to do so, we should.
I’m really proud to be partnered with Verizon where, for the past few months, I’ve not only been asked to share about my mobile lifestyle, but also able to learn more about the company and how they also give back to the communities that support them. They’ve been extremely generous in relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey and Irma through a $2.5 million dollar donation to Hand in Hand and as well as offering free data to Verizon customers in impacted areas of South Texas. In the wake of this devastation, Verizon recently announced support for the residents of Puerto Rico through a $1 million pledge to fund Hurricane Maria relief efforts through their partnership with the American Red Cross and World Vision. They’re working with local network operators, nonprofit partners and employees to assist the Puerto Rican people in rebuilding their lives. Additionally, in an effort to provide further financial support to residents of Puerto Rico, Verizon is matching employees’ contributions -dollar-for-dollar- to select hurricane relief-focused organizations! That’s just another reason why Better Matters!
How you can help support Puerto Rico
There are various other American and global organizations through which you can channel your support. Some of these organizations include UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, Americares, Direct Relief, Save the Children, Center for Popular Democracy, Hispanic Federation’s “Unidos” page and International Medical Corps among others. All the money channeled to these organizations, no matter how little, will help restore Puerto Rico back to its feet.
What You Can Donate
Truth be told, Puerto Rico is currently in need of basically everything – ranging from food, clothing, sanitary supplies, and much more. You can donate food to various organizations that are offering humanitarian help in Puerto Rico. However, most of these organizations prefer money contribution which is then channeled to the regions where it is needed. The support by individuals is paramount considering the fact that, The American government has not offered any official support. People are also encouraged to avail themselves as volunteers and help in supply of foodstuff, clothing and sanitary materials.
How to pass around information
Additionally, Puerto Rico is in a serious need for people to help pass around information. With the entire country being in a blackout, there is no connection or media coverage. People can pass the word around to help the country gather more funding for the current crisis situation. The government of Puerto Rico has launched a platform through which people and companies can donate reconstruction materials -National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD). All individuals can channel direct support to the government via this site. To pass around information, Facebook has created a safety check page for the families and the victims of Hurricane Maria. Anyone who was separated from their families can try to track them through this platform.
Last but not least, continue to pray. Pray for Puerto Rico and all of our fellow human beings whose lives, families, businesses, etc. have been impacted by this devastation!