Americas / United States / Puerto Rico

October 25, 2017

Puerto Rico relief needed: Water and food is desperately scarce

Hurricane Maria roared ashore in Puerto Rico on September 20th and the damage has been catastrophic. According to the government, at least 51 people have died as a result of the storm, however, there are reports that the number is much higher and that the number could rise to the hundreds. People are scrambling for food, water, fuel and cash. Almost the entire island, an estimated 3.4 million people, are without power and outages are expected to last for several months. According to several reports, Hurricane Maria could cost Puerto Rico $45 billion to $95 billion in damage — a devastating blow to the island’s already ailing economy.

The health infrastructure in Puerto Rico was already in crisis prior to Hurricane Maria. Now, the majority of the hospitals are running on generators and are at full capacity. With debris and household wastes littering the streets coupled with damaged sanitation facilities, lack of access to clean drinking water, and no electricity there is potential for serious health and safety risks. For example, increased diarrheal diseases due to no clean drinking water and increased zika infections as a result of stagnant water creating breeding grounds for mosquitos.

Humanitarian aid has been slow in arriving and focusing on the larger cities, however, in many areas outside of San Juan the needs are still great.

Through our Order of Malta network in Puerto Rico, we are distributing bottled water  and pre-cooked hot meals. To increase the number of people and the items being distributed, we have selected two locations which are accessible for thousands in need. One location in San Juan and another in Guaynabo, a town near San Juan, which was severely affected.

We have set up two well located distribution points to supply bottled water, hygiene and kitchen kits to 1,000 families that are poor and disadvantaged – primarily women and children – the elderly and the handicapped.

Please support our relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Donate today.

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