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 are still at risk as Hurricane Fiona continues to ravage the region.
Most of the Caribbean island has been without power and water after the hurricane made landfall on Sunday with winds of 85 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, and a historic amount of rain.
The hurricane’s rain continued on Monday, prompting the National Hurricane Center to raise concerns about additional impacts such as life-threatening flash flooding, overflowing rivers and debris flow.
On Tuesday, the storm poured 30 centimeters of rain into the Dominican Republic, causing flooding and mudslides. The country is still dealing with the storm that has already left 1 million people without running water.
Hurricane Fiona brought its devastating blow to Puerto Rico five years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria swept across the island just weeks apart in 2017. Those storms destroyed the power grid and killed about 3,000 people.
The island is still working to recover from the previous storms. To this day, more than 3,000 homes only have a blue tarpaulin as a roof.
The American Red Cross, Project Hope and a number of other American and international aid organizations are raising money to help the two islands. In addition, several Puerto Rican organizations that have been helping their communities since 2017 now need help to continue their work. Here’s how you can contribute to those local efforts.
What is does: Taller Salud is a feminist nonprofit organization in Puerto Rico committed 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 money for those affected by the hurricane. Items needed include shelf-stable food, toiletries, solar-powered lanterns, water filters, and water. They can be emailed to their offices:
Calle 1 D40
Urb Jardines de Loiza, PR 00772
Carr 187 km 24.4 Parcelas Vieques
#33 Mediania Alta
Loíza, PR 00772.
Cash donations are also accepted through PayPal and Network for Good.
The lucky givers
What it does: The Happy Givers is a non-profit organization that directly manages and assists a home reconstruction program in Puerto Rico and provides relief from natural disasters. (It 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 the proceeds go to reconstruction projects in Puerto Rico. If it is safe, they also encourage volunteers to stay on campus and help with, for example, building light or cooking.
Fundacion Pisadas de Amor
What it does: The nonprofit serves older adults and families in Puerto Rico with food, home furnishings, and mental health care, 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 call on the community to monitor their elders. The organization accepts monetary donations to continue its work.
La Brigada Solidaria del Oeste
What it does: The group is a community initiative (a “mutual aid” group) in Puerto Rico made up of leaders from various organizations and communities. Its aim is to promote community self-management and develop ways to solve problems without government assistance.
How you can help: La Brigada Solidaria del Oeste and related organizations are activating their mutual support network in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. The group accepts monetary donations to provide immediate relief to affected communities.
Volunteer organizations in Puerto Rico active in disasters
What it does: Puerto Rico Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is an affiliate of the national group National VOAD. The local branch’s mission is to strengthen the capacities of organizations working together in the area to respond to communities affected by disasters.
How you can help: The organization welcomes volunteers, but asks that you contact its office first by calling 787-330-0382 or by emailing [email protected] After the organization has had a chance to assess the damage and identify unmet needs, it will match you with a trusted Puerto Rico VOAD member to work with – so be patient.
It also accepts monetary donations to support its members locally.
What it does: The Spanish Federation aims to empower and support the Hispanic community and strengthen Latino institutions through disaster relief, university success programs, not-for-profit advocacy, public education and national impartial 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 monetary donations to get emergency services and supplies directly to the people of Puerto affected by Hurricane Fiona. You can make a one-time or monthly donation.
What it does: Direct Relief works in the US and internationally to expand access to medicine and healthcare by equipping doctors and nurses with life-saving medical resources. It proactively provides emergency medicine with health facilities in hurricane-prone regions of the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean.
How you can help: The organization accepts one-time or monthly monetary donations to support their efforts in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other Fiona-affected Caribbean countries.
Diaspora for Puerto Rico, Inc.
What it does: The New York City nonprofit was founded by Puerto Ricans who moved to the United States in the past decade. It seeks to promote the well-being, self-sufficiency and empowerment of the Puerto Rican community through access to information about services, organizations, events and contacts to create a support network.
How you can help: It is currently collecting monetary donations to support those affected by Hurricane Fiona on the island, with a fundraising goal of $50,000.
You can also purchase items from the nonprofit’s Amazon Wish List, such as portable solar generators, emergency radios, portable fans, and solar chargers.
Stronger than Mary
What it does: Stronger than Maria is a non-profit organization created to improve the living standards of the victims of Hurricane Maria in 2017. This is done by rebuilding houses, distributing food and water, providing necessary household items and providing financial assistance to families in need.
How you can help: It currently provides disaster relief in Puerto Rico and needs support. The nonprofit accepts monetary donations through PayPal.
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