Perhaps you have experienced the stress of trying to understand the aftermath of a natural disaster from afar. Whether it affects your family, friends, or next vacation, it is difficult to sift through the slew of contradictory information. The news often shows only the worst situations, sometimes dramatizing the overall picture, and usually only reporting for a few days on a situation that lasts for weeks to months. For residents, this can be frustrating because of not only how it affects response efforts, but also because of the lasting effect on tourism. In the case of hurricane Fiona, different parts of Puerto Rico were hit drastically different. The purpose of this blog post is not only to provide you with a selection of non-profits to donate to if you would like to help, but also to explain why you should not be canceling your vacation to Puerto Rico.
[Crops in Puerto Rico suffered greatly from Fiona]
Crystal Clear chose 3 different non-profits to donate money to. All 3 of these do work on the main island. Vieques did not suffer greatly from Fiona. In fact, when it hit Vieques, it was only a tropical storm that brought about 10 inches of rain. The small island sits at a great advantage during storms (compared to parts of the main island) because it does not have rivers. Rivers increase the chance of flooding. Since Vieques did not suffer much more than a 4-day power outage, Crystal Clear chose to focus on help for the main island.
1. Mi Patria:
This nonprofit’s mission: “Mi Patria improves the quality of life of underserved Puerto Rican communities by providing sustainable and affordable housing, educational resources and support services to assist in their growth and development…In times of emergency and disaster, Mi Patria shifts primary focus to disaster response and relief efforts.”
2. Techos Pa’ Mi Gente:
This non-profit’s mission: “Techos Pa’ Mi Gente (TPMG Corp.) es una organización sin fines de lucro dedicada a la construcción de techos dignos y rehabilitación de viviendas en comunidades afectadas por desastres naturales.”
3. Plenitud PR:
This non-profit's mission: “Plenitud Puerto Rico is a 501c3 non-profit educational farm and community dedicated to service and sustainability…As you know, Puerto Rico was hit hard by Hurricane Fiona earlier this week, and many in our neighboring communities were devastated by this storm. As soon as we could clear out the road from our farm, we hit the ground running to start helping those in need.
With your support, we are:
a. Cooking fresh, healthy meals daily and delivering them to vulnerable community seniors
b. Providing fresh meals at the Community Center for people lacking electricity and water
c. Providing emergency supplies and produce for seniors
d. Leading work groups to clear roads”
And the list goes on…
The next piece of information to stress is that all municipalities of Puerto Rico were affected differently. Vieques lost power for 4 days and is 100% up and running now, ready for tourism. San Juan lost power for less time. Some towns, on the other hand, lost a lot. Bridges broke as rivers overflowed. Streets looked like rivers with houses acting as riverbanks. Many people’s lives have been affected as if this was another hurricane Maria, as their homes flooded with feet of water. Yet, this is not the time to cancel your vacation to Puerto Rico. Every time that Puerto Rico has a natural disaster, the people suffer financially from the disaster as well as the misinformation that spreads afterwards. Vieques, for example, depends heavily on tourism. When people assume or incorrectly hear that the island is not ready after a disaster, it suffers even more. If your vacation to Puerto Rico this year includes a part of the main island that flooded, please, do your research, make some phone calls, and rebook for another part of the island nearby. Come to Vieques! People in Puerto Rico have already suffered enough due to the storm. Help the economy rebound by choosing to keep your vacation in Puerto Rico.