It’s been a relatively quiet hurricane season in the Atlantic so far this year, but Mother Nature walloped Puerto Rico with a Category 1 hurricane that caused island-wide blackouts on Sunday. As in 2017, organizations are working to send solar equipment and technical expertise (and Solar One is participating in those efforts; see details below), there are things that individuals can do to help.
Hurricane Fiona brought 100 mile an hour winds and up to 30 inches of rain, washing out bridges, tearing up roads, submerging cars and flooding homes. Hundreds of people have been evacuated, including patients in health care facilities whose generators failed. And Fiona struck just days after the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria in 2017, which wrecked the island’s power grid and killed 3,000 people. The toll from Sunday’s storm may take quite some time to calculate.
Here are some ways to help support, if you’re able:
• Mutual-aid group Brigada Solidaria del Oeste is collecting donations of emergency essentials including water-purification tablets, solar lamps, water filters, and first-aid kits. The organization is collecting monetary donations as well.
• Donate to the Puerto Rican Civic Club of San Jose, California, which is raising funds for solar lights and gas generators.
• Taller Salud, a women-led nonprofit based in Loíza, Puerto Rico, is accepting donations of nonperishable food items, disposable containers, gallons of water, adult and baby diapers, and more. The group is also accepting cash donations via PayPal and some disaster-relief essentials including water filters and solar lanterns.
• Comedores Sociales de Puerto Rico is a community kitchen with programs fighting food insecurity on the island. Monetary donations are accepted here.
• Proyecto Matria, a domestic-violence nonprofit in Caguas is raising money for vulnerable communities in the wake of Fiona. Donate via PayPal here.
• Donate to Animal Lighthouse Rescue as it raises money to repair its sister shelter in Puerto Rico, El Faro de Los Animales, which was damaged in the hurricane.
• Donate to Hispanics in Philanthropy’s Fiona Response Fund or Maria Fund’s Fiona Community Response Fund to support both humanitarian needs on the ground and long-term planning for future storm response.
Solar One is collaborating with NYC Councilmember Marjorie Velazquez to assess whether the solar industry has spare equipment that can be packaged and sent to the island to help them restore normalcy and basic services. If you work in the solar indusrty and your company has any spare solar modules, inverters or batteries, please fill out our survey regarding what kind of equipment you have available (and how much) so that we can coordinate logistics with the City and State.
You can read more and find even more ways to help on New York Magazine’s The Cut website here.