Puerto Rico: Hurricane Maria Relief
10 Outreaches Help Hundreds of People: Q3 2019
November 03, 2019
Summary of Activities
After our initial needs assessment in October 2017, RMF Founder and CEO Dr. Martina Fuchs visited Puerto Rico in early December 2017, strengthening ties with local authorities, medical professionals, and organizations. RMF then began working closely with Dr. Luis Gonzalez Bermudez, who oversees 5 medical facilities in the Vega Alta municipality. We began supporting the operations of these 5 health clinics and hospitals, and Dr. Martina Fuchs returned in February 2018 to guide our Puerto Rico team regarding the next steps of the program. Through RMF, the clinics have also received essential medical supplies, dietary supplements, safety equipment, and personal hygiene products from Direct Relief. These supplies are used to serve patients in the clinics, support community outreaches, and contribute to the safety of local maintenance and construction workers.
Now fully mobilized, RMF Puerto Rico has been continually providing health outreaches throughout rural and urban areas most impacted by Hurricane Maria, focusing our efforts on inland towns where health services and support are most needed. Continuing during this reporting period, RMF Puerto Rico is also focusing on providing vitamins, OTC medications, skin and ear care products, and hygienic products for nursing homes located in the towns of Florída, Barceloneta, and Vega Alta.
10 Outreaches were conducted this quarter.
2 Successful Outreaches
During the month of July, RMF Puerto Rico held outreaches in the rural areas of Morovis and Ciales.
- 102 hygiene products, 84 OTC medicines, 117 vitamins, 44 hydration solutions, 35 sun protectants, 37 ear protectors, 38 skin creams, 27 children’s multivitamins, and 39 children’s OTC medicines in the town of Morovis, July 19, 2019
- 87 hygiene products, 40 children’s OTC medicines, 135 vitamins, 88 sun protectants, 88 ear protectors, 41 skin creams, 13 knee and wrist supports, and 11 children’s multivitamins in in the town of Ciales, July 27, 2019.
During the month of August, RMF Puerto Rico held outreaches in the rural areas of Morovis and Ciales. In July, RMF Puerto Rico provided 57 free hygiene products, 14 OTC medications, 322 adult multivitamins, 60 ear protectors, 83 skincare products, and 5 hydration solutions.
- 57 hygiene products, 14 OTC medicines, 82 vitamins, 5 hydration solutions, 60 ear protectors, and 83 skin creams in one nursing home in Barceloneta and two in Florída, on August 21 and 22, 2019.
- 240 vitamins in the town of Vega Alta, August 23, 2019.
5 Nursing Homes Reached
During the month of September, RMF Puerto Rico held outreaches at nursing homes in the rural areas of Manatí and Arecibo.
- 102 hygiene products, 12 OTC medicines, 123 vitamins, 12 hydration solutions, 84 ear protectors, and 80 skincare products in one nursing home in Manatí and four nursing homes in Arecibo on September 27, 2019.
On September 20, 2017, Category 4 Hurricane Maria hit the US territory of Puerto Rico. The winds, 155 miles per hour at landfall, completely wiped out the island’s power grid and phone towers. A flash flood emergency was declared in central Puerto Rico, and the island experienced record flooding.
Prior to the hurricane, Puerto Rico’s infrastructure was weak, and the storm left the small island crippled. Across the island, cities reported collapsed bridges and severe damage to roadways. On October 2, almost two weeks after the storm, 55% of people were still without access to drinking water, only 1 of 69 hospitals was fully operational, and 80% of the island’s crops had been destroyed. The full extent of the damage is still unclear, as most telephone and internet lines are still down. The damage has left many rural areas isolated, without access to communication or desperately needed supplies: food, water, shelter, and medical supplies.
- To provide primary health care and essential supplies to unreached, hurricane-affected communities
- To form local partnerships and empower local health professionals, ensuring effective service provision to communities most in need