We at DuJour celebrate luxury, but we know that in the wake of disaster, the greatest luxuries can be the most basic necessities, like power, shelter, nutrition and water. These are just some of the things that 3.4 million Puerto Ricans have been left without in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Here are some of the crises that the people of Puerto Rico are currently facing:
The power is almost completely out. The storm knocked down 80 percent of the island’s power lines, and almost all homes and businesses have been left in the dark. Major hospitals are relying on generators, but even those are not sufficient to maintain proper care for at-risk patients. Temperatures have risen to close to 90 degrees—nearly unbearable without power for air conditioning.
Fuel is running low. About half of Puerto Rico’s 1,100 gas stations are operating, leading to nine-hour waits for vehicle and generator fuel, which has becoming essential given the island’s lack of power.
Food and fresh water are hard to come by. Earlier this week it was reported that only 40 percent of the country currently has access to drinkable water.
Cell phone towers are down. The storm knocked down 1,360 of 1,600 cellphone towers on the island, making it extremely hard for those on the island to connect with each other, let alone family members off the island.
And it’s not just Puerto Rico. There are currently six other Caribbean nations—including Barbuda, Dominica, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Cuba, the British Virgin Islands and St. Martin—who are all struggling under near-impossible circumstances following Hurricane Maria.
In the wake of these tragic conditions, no contribution is too small. Herein, a list of ways you can help.
1. The Puerto Rico Real-Time Recovery Fund is working to provide $10,000,000 worth of aid to sanctioned organizations doing work “on the ground” on a long-term basis. This will help efforts to rebuild houses according to safety codes and providing generators for common areas in powerless communities. The fund is managed by the non-profit local organization ConPRmetidos.
2. Puerto Rico’s first lady Beatriz Rosselló set up Unidos por Puerto Rico to connect the private sector to those in need. Donations can be sent via PayPal.
3. If you’re in the New York area, the Hispanic Federation teamed up with NY politicians including the Mayor and members of Congress to launch Unidos: A Hurricane Relief Fund for Hurricane Maria Victims in Puerto Rico, which will give 100 percent of its proceeds to hurricane relief and recovery efforts. To donate via text, text to number 41444. Type UNIDOS (space) YOUR AMOUNT (space) and YOUR NAME. (For example: Unidos 100 John Doe) then press “send” and click on the link to complete your donation. Or just donate here.
4. If you’re in the Miami area, the Puerto Rican Leadership Council is accepting donations of nonperishable food, water, and clothing at several locations.
5. The Salvation Army is accepting hurricane relief donations here.
Main Image: Getty Images/HECTOR RETAMAL