Hurricane Fiona has brought devastation to the people of Puerto Rico, and advocates are stressing the need for on-the-ground aid and resources.
The now Category 3 storm grew more powerful Tuesday as it rolled past Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic after pounding the islands with up to 30 inches of rain, triggering overwhelming flooding and leaving much in ruin. Three deaths have been reported.
As of Tuesday, more than 80% of Puerto Rico remained without power – more than 24 hours after the storm shut down the island’s entire electrical system. There’s no running water in more than 100,000 homes and businesses. The Dominican Republic is still assessing damage.
The National Weather Service warned of “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding and mudslides in southern and eastern Puerto Rico on Tuesday, and more heavy rain was forecast through the week. Conditions were not expected to significantly improve.
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On Sunday, President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief. On Monday, the president promised to increase aid in the coming days.
Beyond that aid, advocates stress the importance of supporting local organizations and grassroots aid groups providing on-the-ground relief. Multiple organizations are providing crucial aid for residents, including solar lights, generators, supplies and food.
To help Puerto Ricans and others in the Caribbean recover, here’s a list of nonprofits and mutual aid funds you can support.
PRxPR is a disaster relief fund that has been focused on rebuilding Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. The organization is collecting money for short- and long-term humanitarian needs. You can donate here.
Taller Salud is a community-based, women-led nonprofit that’s also collecting aid for hurricane relief – including donations of items like toiletries, water filters and non-perishable foods. Donate with PayPal or on Taller Salud’s website.
Techos Pa’ Mi Gente
Techos Pa’ Mi Gente is a nonprofit that started in 2017 after Hurricane Maria. The organization focuses on providing home reconstruction to devastated communities. Learn more about donating and volunteer opportunities here.
Comedores Sociales de Puerto Rico
Comedores Sociales de Puerto Rico is a nonprofit that has worked to fight hunger in Puerto Rico since 2013 through mutual aid, providing the public with nutritious meals and more. You can donate here.
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Brigade Solidaria del Oeste
Brigada Solidaria del Oeste, a mutual-aid group based in Boquerón, Puerto Rico, is collecting emergency donations such as solar lamps, water filters, water purification tablets and first aid kids, as well as monetary donations. Learn more about donating here.
Direct Relief is the largest non-governmental organization donor of medical supplies – such as trauma supplies, antibiotics, medications and field medic backpacks – to on-the-ground health care providers. The group also helps install water wells and fire and EMS systems run on solar power.
Direct Relief is taking monetary donations for Hurricane Fiona relief in Puerto Rico and other areas of the Caribbean, along with emergency aid prepositioned for the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and more.
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The Puerto Rican Civic Club
The Puerto Rican Civic Club in San Jose, California, is raising money for solar lights and gas generators in Puerto Rico. You can donate Amazon items such as solar generators and flashlights as well as money here.
The Hispanic Federation
The Hispanic Federation, a US nonprofit focused on Latino empowerment, is raising money for on-the-ground emergency relief and essential supplies. Support the organization’s Hurricane Fiona relief and donate here.
Project HOPE, an international organization that helped respond to a series of earthquakes in Puerto Rico in late 2019 and early 2020, said it has teams on the ground evaluating health needs after the hurricane. Learn more about helping relief in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic here.
Contributing: John Bacon, USA TODAY; Chris Bridges, The Palm Beach Post