In communities outside of Utuado, Orocovis and others our group was the first aid to arrive 3 and 4 weeks after the hurricane. Nobody from our government or FEMA had arrived. People are forced to drink from the mountain springs but there are dead animals and rat infestations from the storm contaminating the water. Cases of leptospirosis have been confirmed. I met the family of an Orocovis resident who died of leptospirosis last week. If we do not get clean water to Puerto Ricans many more will die of this or other water borne illnesses.
Delivering bottled water is not a sustainable solution. Each day of our mission we filled our vans with as much water as we could carry and each day we eventually ran out and left people thirsty or drinking from streams which are likely contaminated. I went back to San Juan in tears more than once and that is why I vowed to find a better solution to help until Puerto Rico's infrastructure is rebuilt.
I am raising money to send Sawyer Water Filters to Puerto Rico. Sawyer has offered to sell the filters to me at cost. They will go directly to Dr. Alfredo Ayala and Luis Benitez, the president of Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 3010 Puerto Rico. These two are dedicating their lives to relief efforts and in particular to reaching the communities in Puerto Rico that have received no aid. I had the pleasure of working side by side with them during my time there. Our government has failed our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico but there are many small grassroots groups like ours stepping up to help.
Please donate. The cost of each filter, shipped and installed, is $25. Volunteers in Puerto Rico are not charging for their time, expertise and transportaion. Each filter will provide 250-500 gallons of safe drinking water per day and will last for years with minimal maintenance. With $5,000 we can install 200 filters in the hardest hit communities in Puerto Rico.
The CDC states that 1 gallon of clean drinking water per person per day is needed to survive. With $5,000 we can provide 50,000-100,000 gallons of safe water per day.
Fuerza Puerto Rico!
Water Crisis in Purerto Rico VOX Oct 18, 2017
National Nurses United Press release on Puerto Rico
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