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.
RMF is in the planning stages of sending relief to Puerto Rico. Our goal is to send a team of Puerto Rican doctors and nurses to areas of the island that have not received aid and have no access to primary medical care. Many doctors’ offices and clinics were forced to close their doors due to the lack of electricity and medical supplies.
RMF will reach out to local organizations for spaces where we can provide health care and distribute supplies in several isolated rural communities.
- Destroyed or debris-filled roadways, bridges, and highways
- Lack of electricity, internet, and phone services
- Lack of drinking water
- Destroyed or damaged homes
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