After two recent major hurricanes, many areas in the Caribbean and the Southeast United States are still in recovery. On September 18, Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico, knocking out electricity and causing flooding over much of the island. Following close behind was Hurricane Ian, making landfall in Cuba on September 27, then moving north to Florida and the United States east coast.
In their wake, historic flooding and power outages persist in many of the affected areas, and massive clean-up and search and rescue efforts have now begun. The death toll from the two hurricanes has reached 139 and continues to climb. The cost of the extensive damage from the natural disasters has been estimated as high as $75 billion.
What can my family do to help?
People across the region are suffering massive losses and turning to organizations and institutions for help, so many families are wondering what they can do to help survivors of these disasters. The following are just a few of the organizations are coordinating rescue, rehabilitation, and emergency services for folks in Puerto Rico impacted by Hurricane Fiona:
- Comedores Sociales: This community kitchen initiative works to eliminate hunger in Puerto Rico. They are currently organizing on the ground to provide meals to families impacted by Hurricane Fiona.
- FURIA: This leadership development organization works with community leaders in Puerto Rico to respond most effectively to local needs. They are currently coordinating donation drives and delivering desperately needed supplies to communities in need.
- Ponce Neighborhood Housing Services: This organization assists low-income residents of Ponce, one of the hardest hit areas of Puerto Rico.
- PRoTechos: This nonprofit not only reconstructs roofs, which is a desperately needed service in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona — they also provide vocational training on roof reconstruction to residents of underserved Puerto Rican communities.
- Taller Salud: This feminist grassroots organization is spearheading a rescue response on the ground in Puerto Rico. They’re also coordinating a disaster relief fund to provide emergency supplies and drinking water to impacted families.
The following organizations are assisting with rescue, rehabilitation, and support for residents impacted by Hurricane Ian in the Southeastern region of the United States, primarily in Florida:
- Feeding Tampa Bay: This member organization of the nonprofit Feeding America provides meals to food-insecure families across west central Florida. They are working in collaboration with emergency operations centers in this heavily impacted area to provide food, water, and personal hygiene items to hurricane survivors.
- Team Rubicon: This veterans’ organization is devoted to disaster relief, and is currently serving the areas impacted by Hurricane Ian. Their route clearance teams are on the ground assisting with clearing trees and debris from roadways. They also have teams providing emergency home repairs such as roof tarping and debris removal.
- Direct Relief: This organization provides humanitarian relief to areas impacted by disasters. They are currently working in Florida to assist hospitals and clinics with emergency supplies and backup power systems.
- Volunteer Florida: This fund was created by the state of Florida to provide assistance during emergencies and natural disasters. They are working in the impacted area to coordinate volunteers and donations for the emergency relief effort.
- Rebuilding Together: This organization has assisted communities with their rehabilitation efforts after previous devastating hurricanes such as Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and Harvey. They are currently on the ground in Florida helping impacted families with emergency home repairs.
If you’re unable to donate money, you can help the hurricane recovery effort by sharing this resource or helping to fundraise among your friends and family, or online. You can also boost the efforts of the organizations on the ground by subscribing to their social media and sharing their content to your platforms to spread awareness.