It’s been nearly a year since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico. The storm caused massive destruction to many parts of the island, with electrical outages in some areas still persisting today. Many families remain in urgent need.
Thanks to your generous support, Lutheran World Relief began reaching out quickly after the storm, and with your support we are still there, working closely with our partners to build back better.
Here’s an update on the work you have made possible.
Without power for months, families and communities struggled
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, many rural areas of Puerto Rico were without power. The lack of electricity limited the function of schools, hospitals, businesses and the provision of basic services, like portable water. Power outages also mean families lack consistent refrigeration for food, forcing them to depend on processed foods from convenience stores as their only source of nourishment. This problem is compounded by the fact that in Adjuntas —one of the poorest regions of Puerto Rico, and where Lutheran World Relief has focused its response — 60 percent of the population living below the poverty line.
As electricity is restored in urban centers of the island, and not in rural areas, there is a widening gap in recovery. That’s why your gifts are helping families find alternative energy solutions, such as solar panels. Your gifts are also helping families become better prepared for future storms. This will help families meet their most basic needs and, in turn, focus on long-term, sustainable recovery.
Our plan: solar energy panels and disaster preparedness training
Lutheran World Relief is working with local partner, Casa Pueblo, to establish solar hubs that will provide power for families to meet their basic needs while government support is limited. Keeping in mind that hurricane season is upon us, our project also aims to help families prepare for, and limit their risk from, future storms. Casa Pueblo is doing this by disseminating information through their community radio station, ensuring people are aware of the threats during hurricane season and the resources available to them.
Working in Adjuntas, we are focusing these solar energy hubs toward two specific community resources: neighborhood grocery stores and a local, accessible hardware store. Providing power in these locations will help families be able to access food and other essential items, as well as equipment needed to rebuild their communities. In the long run, this work will help the community of Adjuntas be more resilient to future hurricanes.
In addition, we are working together to help families prepare for future disasters through solar workshops and radio programming.
This work would not be possible without your support. Thank you for responding quickly to the needs of the people of Puerto Rico, and for your continuing support as we work toward long-term recovery.
Take a moment to meet a few of the people whose lives were touched by your generosity.
If you’d like to reach out to families around the world coping with war, poverty, and disaster, give a gift to Lutheran World Relief’s World of Good Fund. This fund helps us move quickly in emergency situations, getting life-saving assistance to families who desperately need it.