No electrical power for light, air conditioning, refrigeration, and other daily needs. Fresh water is scarce. People are scrounging to find food and fuel. This is not the scene of some apocalyptic movie or a description of a developing country. This is happening in the United States, right now, in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. And there are still areas without power in Florida as well. Additionally, the recovery from flooding in the Houston area is continuing and it will take months or longer to fully rebuild the damaged areas.
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have caused incredible devastation. Maria is actually still active and may threaten the US east coast this week. The death toll from these three storms is over 200, and countless others have lost their homes and have had their lives totally disrupted. These hurricanes have created health and humanitarian disasters right within our borders, and the people affected are in need of help.
Although many people need goods that were lost, at this point, money is most in need so that organizations in the areas can operate at full strength. Goods also cost money to ship, an issue that is even more difficult in Puerto Rico due to the Jones Act which requires American ships to deliver supplies.
What are some ways you can help? There are some well known international charities, but I’ve chosen 5 below that are ready to help right now and that you might not know about.
- ASPCA: aspca.org: Animals are often forgotten when natural disasters strike, but are often just as in need of assistance.
- United for Puerto Rico: unidosporpuertorico.com/en: This charity was recently established by the First Lady of Puerto Rico and already has many established sponsors working on the ground there to provide aid and support.
- US Virgin Islands Recovery: usvirecovery.org: Many people are unaware of, or have quickly forgotten, the damage done to the US Virgin Islands by Irma and Maria. This charity is focusing its efforts there.
- Direct Relief: directrelief.org: Direct Relief is a non-governmental, non-religious humanitarian aid organization with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies.
- GlobalGiving: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/hurricane-maria-caribbean-relief-fund: GlobalGiving is a crowdfunding community which helps nonprofits all over the world access the tools, training, and support they need to be more effective and make our world a better place.
I hope you take the time and make the commitment to help fellow citizens in need.