Much has happened since Hurricane Maria brought complete devastation to an already battered Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irma. Let's first focus on good news. Both FEMA and the military are finally getting it together and people are starting to get the supplies they need in the more populated areas, however this is just starting to scratch the surface and a lot of aid is still needed. Details below on how you can help. The situation continues to worsen for many in the island. More than supplies, it is the inadequate distribution of these supplies as well as more manpower needed to help the process along. With continued rain and thunderstorms the residents of Puerto Rico are continuing to have set backs in recovery and response efforts. For example, 2 nights ago a thunderstorm brought down Power Station #6, which supplies power to Carolina, San Juan and Bayamon. Demonstrating how sensitive the current deteriorating infrastructure truly is. The stats of the island are being continuously updated on www.status.pr. As of right now here’s what we know (combined information from boots on ground involved in response efforts in Manati and surrounding areas, and status.pr).
- Currently 22 schools are open.
- Governor hoping to open 78 more this week, work towards all schools open Oct 23rd.
- Gas stations - 78% are open
- Grocery stores –86% open
- Power: 16% of population has electricity
- Telecommunications (land and wireless service)-53% operational
- Cell phone towers- 32% back up and working
- Cell Phone Antennaes-19% back up and working
- Shelters- 112 still open, about 6067 people are still in shelters
- 25 of 70 Assisted Hospitals have electricity
- 56% of bank branches are operational
- 56% of the island has water, DoD has said whoever does have water restored MUST BOIL IT.
- Gas stations no longer appear to have lines/wait times!
Latest report from people on the ground (10/10/17)
- They were able to stand up a field hospital with 175 beds and 2 others
- They have some large generators running power to the city water pumps and other infrastructure, these are the equivalent of 300-500kw
- They could use some smaller generators that are more portable and permit them to take into the field. 6-8kw
- They need Power Inverters as they have a lot of people on oxygen tanks or that use CPAPs and need a way to keep them powered with current means
- Biggest priority they need HEAVY Tarps, 20 X 40 or 20x20. They have continued to experience heavy rains, at one point it rained 5-6 inches in an hour time frame. Homes are missing walls and roofs, so any surviving belongings are getting damaged, and not leaving people with appropriate shelter.
- Although they were given 700 3ml plastic sheets by Corps of Engineers, these are not sufficient in strength or thickness (they are the plastic painter drops, not heavy industrial ones) for the heavy rains and to provide protection. They also use them for makeshift tents to set up FEMA application centers.
- They don't have much for the kids to do. Even when schools are all reopened it doesn't account for all of the children not in school
- Claro signed a deal with other cell phone providers which extended their ability to serve their customers, allowing further communications to come back up today.
- The biggest frustration is getting the FEMA paperwork filled out. They require exact coordinates via GPS, and an internet connection to fill out. They're having to go to peoples directly especially in mountainous areas to get them signed up. This process is the slower and more painful part.
Our islanders need help desperately especially in the mountainous areas, and as there has been so much controversy and lack of trust in how funds are being used, we have a trusted family friend and associate, John Villamil who set up a 501(c)(3) nonprofit “Fundacion Unidos Para Servir” with other trusted associates in order to provide direct assistance to the residents of Manati and surrounding areas. All withdrawals from the organization’s account require dual signatures, in order to ensure there is accountability for all funds used. Johnny has been working as volunteer 24/7 at the Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia (COE), the center from where the local government’s eye of operations is coordinated at the Convention Center in San Juan, akin to central command headquarters. He is working in coordination with a group of mayors representing the municipalities of PR, and working with one in particular hand and glove. These are the leaders at the ground level of operation and flow in assistance. We are working through him to assist from our end to ensure he coordinates activities from the PR side, primarily outside of San Juan, where resources are still meager, with us (myself/others/family/you) helping from afar.
Right now our biggest pain points are logistics for getting goods there, however we have a possible alternative plan with volunteers. Some airlines allow extra weight and baggage for elite status members of that airline’s travel rewards. We are asking people to also volunteer a day to travel with items and deliver directly to the people we have on the ground. Please contact [email protected] if you are interested in assisting with this.
Items needed in order of priority:
- Money (for items they’re able to find on island, however price gouging so better to send items)
- Tarps 20 x 40 or 20 x 20 as many as possible
- Solar power sources
- Plastic Diesel/gas containers
- Wifi hotspot(or uplink type) for Fema sign up stations
- 10 x 10 canopies for FEMA sign up stations
- Activities for Kids *they're trying to set up a temporary safe place for them
- Small Generators 6-8kw per hour
- Power inverters
- 2m walkie talkies
- Solar powered fans
- Solar powered lights
- Safe water (bottled or water filtration-think brita or hiking
- Bug Repellent
- HAM radio supplies:
- Coax cable 50 ohm 300 ft-radio cable
- Dual band antenna 2 meters 70cm
- HF multiband amplifier 600 wat
- Roll of wire strand 400 ft an 1/4 inch
- Multiband antenna HF vertical
- HAM Radios