Hurricane Maria’s Impact
On the early morning of September 20th, category 4 Hurricane Maria entered the island through the southern municipality of Yabucoa. Maria brought to the island 165 mph winds and massive bands of rain, a combination never seen before in Puerto Rico’s modern history. After roughly 16 hours of direct impact, the powerful hurricane left the island, forever changing the future of Puerto Rico, as the aftermath of the event was one few could imagine.
The infrastructure and vegetation of this U.S. territory was hit hardest. Completely devastated after the pass of the hurricane, not only were thousands of homes and hundreds of businesses destroyed, yet cables and pipelines were heavily hit, leaving Puerto Ricans without three of the most basic needs: power, communication, and water. The power grid was one that was totally destroyed, as light posts fell right into the ground, and cables tangled with fallen trees, leaving originally 100% of the clients of the “Autoridad Energia Electrica” (AEE) without power. To this day (more than two weeks after the event) over 90%, essentially almost the entire island is still without electricity. It has been estimated that some municipalities, especially in the interior part of the island, will not have power for more than 6 months. Although water is being re-established at a much faster pace, a little less than half of the island currently finds themselves without the essential element. Transportation has been a problem due to damage suffered by roads, making it hard for many municipalities to get access to food or potable water.
Many Puerto Ricans have lost everything as a result of Hurricane María, and the island finds itself in one of its worst situations in history. After personally seeing some of the most affected areas of the island I, Ricardo Kury Calderón, with the support of my fellow students from Baldwin School, have decided to start a project titled “¡ADELANTE!” with the goal of aiding and providing victims of the Hurricane with basic necessities in several municipalities around the island, as citizens are in dire need of humanitarian help. The project will have a dynamic purpose, as the situation progresses, we will be assessing the needs in the municipalities to make the best use of all donations. This past week food and water were missing, but for the following weeks as the situation stabilizes, other supplies such as alternative sources of light and hygiene products will be of utmost need. We will be releasing updates of the supplies purchased and distributed as the project continues. The magnitude of the project is heavily dependent on the amount of money collected, hence I urge you to donate any quantity as soon as possible, as none is too small, and we will help Puerto Rico rise back up!
Our first mission: Morovis
On Wednesday October 4th, I got in contact with the mayor of the municipality of Morovis, Carmen Maldonado, in order to coordinate a large donation and distribution of essential supplies. During our conversation, she explained how hard Morovis had been impacted by the category 5 hurricane, how they have no water, no power, and would be grateful for any donation, as they were in need of immediate aid. After the lengthy conversation, I decided what would be the most cost-efficient supplies in order to contact the distributor, and figure out how it would be transported to the municipality located in the mountains. After giving it some thought, I decided to buy bottled water, bread, and canned food in large amounts to take on Saturday, October 7th to Morovis, contacting the major suppliers in the island. After buying the goods in bulk, we divided them between a cargo van and a pickup truck, and we went on our way to the municipality. In order to increase efficiency, I formed a small group of friend volunteers to maximize productivity for the delivery. Once there, we went with the mayor to different, heavily affected neighborhoods, house by house distributing the essential supplies between families. The people of Morovis were extremely grateful, showing their happiness with a burst of emotions, as families would explain how some nights they would go to bed without dinner. At the end, we donated 360 loafs of bread, 360 cans of pulled pork, and 3,456 bottles of water, impacting over 400 families in Morovis.
Pickup truck and van loaded with all supplies for Morovis, including 3,456 bottles of water.
360 loafs of bread and 360 cans of pulled pork for Morovis.
Distributing the supplies from house to house in community "El Hoyo" in Morovis.
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