Mercy Corps: Puerto Rico's Recovery Still Uncertain Six Months After Maria

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Global organization works with community centers to support ongoing relief and prepare for future storms

San Lorenzo, Morovis, Puerto Rico. A resident walks out to help a mother carrying her daughter and guiding her son across the Rio Grande de Manati after the nearby bridge was washed away by Hurricane

There's still so much rebuilding to be done. Even now, in many municipalities, the power service goes out every other day and the water service comes and goes.

As Puerto Rico marks six months since Hurricane Maria made landfall, the global organization Mercy Corps and its partners continue to work towards a full recovery for the U.S. territory. While around 90 percent of Puerto Rico’s electricity subscribers have had their power restored, thousands of vulnerable people, especially in rural areas, are still without it.

“Many houses have been destroyed and there's still so much rebuilding to be done. Even now, in many municipalities, the power service goes out every other day and the water service comes and goes,” says Karla Peña, Emergency Program Manager for Mercy Corps in Puerto Rico. “On top of that, many families are traumatized and lack proper resources to prepare for the next hurricane season, which is just around the corner.”

With support from Walmart, The Miami Foundation and other partners, Mercy Corps is expanding and transforming 15 community centers into resilience hubs. In the coming months, these hubs will provide energy and water to as many as 36,000 individuals; facilitate disaster-preparedness and risk-reduction training to as many as 90,000 people to better prepare for future storms; and offer livelihood support to as many as 1,000 small farmers through access to quality seeds, fertilizer, machinery, labor and training.

“It still feels sometimes like the whole economy is on hold,” says Peña. “We have to jump-start people’s livelihoods at the same time that we rebuild crucial infrastructure. It’s all happening at once. We are providing fishermen with materials to rebuild lobster traps that were lost or damaged during the storm while designing and procuring low-maintenance solar energy systems.”

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Maria and Irma, Mercy Corps delivered 5,000 solar lanterns, 2,500 water filters and nearly $300,000 in emergency cash assistance to thousands of families. Additionally, the organization partnered with World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, to deliver 25,000 meals around the island. Mercy Corps also established relationships with local nonprofits to identify and help those who are in the greatest need of assistance.

Join us and support Mercy Corps’ work in Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the world.

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Christy Delafield
Mercy Corps
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