Responding to the Ongoing Crisis in Puerto Rico after the Storms

Millions of people in Puerto Rico are still without power, communications networks, running water and fuel following Hurricane Maria which hit the island on September 20. Neighborhoods are in ruins and roads washed away. Food and water are not widely available and many are still awaiting emergency assistance. Airport restrictions have made it difficult to move critical food, materials and personnel onto the island. Recent reports note that badly damaged ports are preventing ships from docking and unloading emergency items. 

A public health emergency has been declared in Puerto Rico, with only 11 of the island’s 69 hospitals operating with limited medical supplies. There are concerns that the warm climate combined with flooding could lead to an increase in mosquito-borne diseases, such as the Zika virus and dengue.

Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Episcopal Diocese of Puerto Rico to provide urgently needed food, water and medicine. In advance of Hurricane Maria, the organization sent emergency support, ensuring that the diocese’s relief and pastoral teams are equipped to offer assistance as quickly as possible. Local authorities in Puerto Rico have delayed the distribution of supplies.

An Episcopal Relief & Development representative, Xavier Castellanos, will be traveling to Puerto Rico on Monday, October 2nd and staying for at least 10 days. He brings extensive experience in the management of critical incidents and emergencies in a variety of countries including Haiti and Colombia. He will interface regularly with the US Disaster team. More information and donation links can be found here.

Tralee Johnson