Utuado has been a little known town in the mountains of Puerto Rico until the category 5 "Hurricane Maria" hit and it was on the news.
(after - different part of town)
My father's house is in that town and since communication is tenuous at best, I've only heard 1 message and a few texts through the grapevine, from people outside his area. Fortunately he is safe, but his house sustained lots of damage; there is a ton of mud and debris in the house making it unlivable at the moment...
Anyone who knows Nelson, my father will tell you that he's a jolly guy who would give you the shirt off his back if you asked. But it's not just about him or his house. On his street lives a group of people who have always looked out for each other. They are a tight-knit bunch of resourceful, friendly and helpful people who are like family. In fact, one of them is lending his truck to another, who is shuttling elderly folks to and from the hospital. (Like I said, they are helpful and resourceful people!).
My father is currently living with his neighbors- Gloria and Gelo, but needs help cleaning and repairing the house. For as much love as everyone has, no one wants to wear out their welcome. Plus, with the prolonged nature of the recovery, we don't want him to become a burden to others.
The plan is 3 fold:
1.) To bring badly needed supplies directly to him and his circle of neighbors, to alleviate any short term issues.
2.) To set up a longer term system; a power generator or something of the like, while getting his house liveable. (The power can also be shared with neighbors for them to charge phones, listen to relief effort updates and have a source of light amongst them).
3.) To secure the house and try to get him and (whomever else that wants to go) to the airport. This is to get to the US mainland temporarily, until conditions improve. (We would leave the generator with the neighbors who took him in, should they decide to stay).
The money would help with supplies like:
2 first aid kits , water 100 4oz packets, food rations - pouches of tuna and other sealed foods that don't need much prep. Batteries, wash wipes (for people without running water), some clean tee shirts and maybe even underwear. 2 Folding shovels, 2 push brooms, a Solar-Powered /Crank-Powered Emergency Radio/light/usb charger, portable solar panels for longer term electricity issues (we can find an old car battery down there to hook them to), a satellite phone (to coordinate efforts with my brother in the states and others in different towns with working phones).
(Update: I found out through the grapevine that they need batteries because everyone bought them up in the stores - D batteries mainly - so we'll be bringing several packs of those and rechargeable ones too 0with solar powered battery chargers).
Your contribution will also help with transportation costs to and from the airport - and help with the extra high prices of airfare that is to be expected. So any small amount is greatly appreciated.
We know there are official relief efforts, but by all accounts the relief is uneven. Some are getting help, others don't know where to go - and still some have had no relief at all. I just want to be sure that a direct, helping hand can be lent in a timely fashion. Just a little boost like being able to charge a phone or hear the news can cause a dominoe effect and help others.
In a perfect world, the funds would be raised within the next week and a half.
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