Although Puerto Rico is part of the United States, it does not share in America’s economic prosperity. While the highest poverty rate in the US is 19.8%, Puerto Rico’s rates are more than twice as high. Over 44% of Puerto Rico’s 3.2 million residents live below the poverty line.
Poverty and accompanying lack of infrastructure development make the effects of natural disasters much more damaging, and recovery more difficult. So when Hurricane Maria hit in 2017, the damage was catastrophic. Sluggish and inadequate response compounded the toll, leading to an estimated 2,975 deaths according to a study commissioned by the Governor of Puerto Rico, with some studies putting the death toll much higher. Hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed or damaged, and many residents waited almost a year for power to be restored in the wake of the disaster.
Disaster Relief From Humanity First USA
As an international disaster relief and development organization, Humanity First USA was able to quickly respond to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and around the Caribbean. Over 50 volunteers worked with local authorities, other disaster relief organizations and medical facilities to provide food, water, health and hygiene products and medical care for the people of Puerto Rico.
In addition to serving over 150,000 meals, our team operated mobile clinics to treat people in communities throughout Puerto Rico, as well as home visits in remote and isolated areas to provide needed medical care. Our contributions included bringing life saving medicine to people in need, and providing crucial feedback about medical needs to both FEMA and the Puerto Rican government.
While Hurricane Maria is gone, Puerto Rico and many other regions around the world remain vulnerable to future disasters. Get involved to help Humanity First USA save lives and improve living conditions wherever disaster occurs.