Hurricane Fiona roared through the Caribbean this week, causing destruction for the region’s islands—including Guadeloupe and the Turks and Caicos. But some of the hardest hit places were the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where widespread flooding has left much of the population of both islands without electricity or running water since early this week.
For Puerto Rico especially, the situation has been an eerie and devastating deja vu of the last major storm to ravage the island: Hurricane Maria, a powerful Category 5 storm that hit five years ago this month left residents without water or power for almost a year. As of Tuesday, at least 1,200 people were being housed in shelters, according to CNN, after Hurricane Fiona made landfall on Sunday; flooding and mudslides were blocking access to the power grid and causing issues getting emergency supplies to more remote areas.
On Wednesday, Fiona strengthened from a Category 1 into a Category 4 hurricane—with winds of at least 130 mph, according to CNN—and was projected to reach Bermuda by Thursday. Here’s how to help Puerto Rico and other areas left in the wake of Hurricane Fiona.
Direct Relief’s focus is equipping health professionals in resource-poor communities or after disaster strikes. After Hurricane Maria hit in 2017, Direct Relief created a regional disaster response hub in Puerto Rico. It’s currently assessing needs with health centers throughout the Caribbean, and is working to dispatch emergency medicines, backup power, and mobile health units. All contributions designated for Hurricane Fiona will solely be used for relief and recovery efforts related to the storm, the organization’s site states.
Founded to help support Puerto Ricans and the diaspora in a variety of areas—including education, business, and disaster response—the Hispanic Federation is on the ground, providing relief after Hurricane Fiona. The organization is asking for monetary donations to help get emergency supplies to residents who need them the most amid the widespread power and water outages. “With your support, we will provide direct disaster relief and long-term resiliency projects like solar power infrastructure, housing, community development, small business assistance and workforce training,” its donation page says.
Based in New York City, Diaspora x Puerto Rico is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to empower the Puerto Rican community in New York and across the U.S. The group has started an Amazon Wish List of emergency relief items—such as generators, solar panels, camping lanterns, and emergency radios—that will be sent to families and individuals who need them in the wake of the storm.
Taller Salud defines itself as a “community-based feminist organization dedicated to improving women’s access to healthcare, reducing violence in community settings, and fostering economic development.” In Fiona’s wake, the 501 (c)(3) nonprofit needs a host of survival items to be donated, including: non-perishable food, disposable containers, toiletries, cutlery, solar lanterns, water filters, diapers, gallons of water, pasta and pasta sauce. The group is also accepting cash donations via PayPal.
Founded in 2017 the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Stronger Than Maria is focused on disaster relief in Puerto Rico. To date, the 501 (c)(3) nonprofit has distributed more than 800,000 pounds of food, water, and supplies and has built hundreds of homes. To help with its Fiona response efforts, the organization is accepting cash donations to its PayPal giving fund.
Also founded after Hurricane Maria, PRxPR’s team is made up of Puerto Rican business leaders in the U.S. diaspora. The goal of the fund is to provide “food, clean water and renewable energy to some of the most devastated communities in Puerto Rico.” Aid goes towards both short-term and long-term humanitarian needs, and 100% of donations are invested in communities in critical need.
Brigada Solidaria del Oeste
A community-based, mutual-aid group that was formed to provide relief and support after Hurricane Maria, Brigada Solidaria del Oesta is collecting emergency supplies to distribute to those affected by Hurricane Fiona. The group is accepting donations of water purification tablets, solar lamps, water filters, and first aid kits. Monetary donations to the group’s PayPal are also being accepted. More information is available on the group’s Instagram and website.