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Hurricane Fiona: Ways to Help Puerto Rico in Relief Efforts

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

AfterMath of Hurricane Fiona

It has been nearly two weeks since Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico with catastrophic floods and island-wide power outages, making it one of the most impactful natural disasters the island has ever endured. The heavy rain fall caused sink holes, mudslides, and flash floods that wiped out many houses and those most affected lost everything. Not only people but also entire communities are facing the harsh aftermath caused by the atmospheric event. 

The electrical infrastructure has suffered severe damage, leaving most of the island without power. To this day, electricity has not been fully restored. The few sectors that do have power receive inconsistent electrical service. Puerto Rico´s electrical grid had never fully recovered from Hurricane Maria which hit the island five years ago. With Hurricane Fiona coming this time around, it has only made matters worse. Many have hundreds of dollars worth of damaged appliances and rotten food after the multiple power outages.

Not to mention, most hospitals still do not have stable electrical service. In fact, most are running off their own generators to power whatever they can. On top of that, there is a shortage of diesel which puts a limit on the health care service the hospitals can provide as they can not function properly at full capacity. Additionally, the disabled who rely on home oxygen concentrators and ventilators are struggling to charge their medical devices.

This poses a great threat to our public health care system as well as emergency response teams, especially during a humanitarian crisis like this one. Stable electrical service and a reliable health care service should be of top priority in restoration efforts considering many lives are at risk.

Local recovery Efforts

President Biden declared the entire island a disaster zone and has initiated a federal aid response. However, local organizations have decided to take immediate action and participate in recovery efforts. These groups are recruiting volunteers, collecting basic necessity items and accepting donations to aid their surrounding communities. More so, groups like Techos Pa’ Mi Gente are helping in the reconstruction of damaged homes.

There is a long road ahead before complete recovery; but for anyone who wishes to give a helping hand, these are a few of the independent non-profit organizations I recommend directing funds toward:

Taller Salud

www.tallersalud.com 

Instagram: @tallersalud

La Fondita de Jesus

wwww.lafonditadejesus.org 

Instagram: @lafonditadejesus

Brigada Solidaria del Oeste  

www.bsopr.com

Instagram: @brigadasolidariadeloeste

Fundación Sin Límites

www.sinlimitespr.org

Instagram: @sinlimites.pr

Techos Pa’ Mi Gente

www.tpmgcorp.org

Instagram: @techospamigente.pr 

Red Por La Niñez

www.ninezpr.org

Instagram: @redeniijpr

Striving towards a new Puerto Rico

More often than not, Puerto Rico is praised for its resilience in the face of a crisis like this, but encouraging as it is, people are tired of constantly being on edge and in survival mode. Economic depression, bankruptcy, natural disasters, population displacement, and poorly maintained infrastructure are only some of the problems that contribute to the island’s struggle.

As of recent, the ongoing power outages, that have increased in frequency since last year, have been added to the mix of issues on the island. Considering Puerto Ricans pay the highest electricity rates in the United States, it is understandable why many are disappointed and angry about the energy crisis.

The reality many Puerto Ricans live today has been the product of years of mismanagement and corruption which has resulted in a distrust towards its government. The local recovery efforts that are taking place demonstrate that the people are done waiting for false promises and are taking matters into their own hands. These conditions have brought forth a new sense of strength and community like never before.

This new wave of change gives me hope that Puerto Rico will free itself from the troubles it has endured for so long. Puerto Ricans are becoming more aware of the power they hold to make a change for the better and are taking action towards building a brighter tomorrow.

Hey! I am a Microbiology student and the current President/Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at UPRM Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
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