The following is an excerpt from Elizabeth's full blog post on Puerto Rico.
I spent two weeks deployed in Puerto Rico after La Isla del Encanto was impacted by Hurricane Maria, the 10th most intense storm ever recorded in the Atlantic. I arrived in Puerto Rico on September 27th, seven days after the storm made landfall. Puerto Rico, the beautiful island where my mother was born and raised, was destroyed and left without power.
It was a pleasure to collaborate with La Fortaleza’s Chief Innovation Officer, Glorimar. She leads the team behind status.pr, the public information website that displays the status of services and levels of progress on the island.
Governor Ricardo Rosselló, the youngest governor in the US, highlighted the preexisting constraints and circumstances of Puerto Rico to emphasize the need for serious and concerted efforts to help Puerto Rico move forward.
- Donate: Donating cash is generally better than donating in kind after emergencies. This allows flexibility so the money can be spent on determined needs, which change quickly over the course of a response and recovery. Suggestions: Unidos Por Puerto Rico; Hispanic Federation, “Unidos” (you can also support this initiative with Lin Manuel Miranda’s Almost Like Praying); Somos Una Voz; Resilient Power Puerto Rico (Coastal Marine Resource Center)
- Call congress to advocate for a flexible aid package for Puerto Rico and to help repeal the Jones Act.
- Join or spread the word about openings at FEMA, including local hurricane recovery work opportunities for survivors.
- Volunteer: Sunset Park Relief Coalition; Rebuild Puerto Rico (Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College)
- Stay informed and updated on the situation in Puerto Rico as the response and recovery evolves: El “Centro”, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College has a platform for updates; This Miami Herald article offers the most comprehensive overview on the response that I have seen so far.
- Help spread accurate information about available services, such as the opening of a Service Center in New York City for those affected by recent hurricanes.
- Learn about the history of Puerto Rico—the contributions and the sacrifices of its people.