The year has been marred by extraordinary natural disasters. Flooding in south Asia has killed more than 1000 people and displaced 41 million people, and hurricanes and earthquakes have left survivors in need of help in communities on the doorstep of E4C’s headquarters in New York City. The death toll ticks up among hurricane-stricken Caribbean islands and in Mexico after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake.
The lucky people who have not felt the effects of disaster or armed conflict this year may be overwhelmed by the scope of the tragedies, but two important actions you can take now are to donate money and donate blood. This short list of reputable organizations can help you make a decision about where you would like your money to go.
Maria: Puerto Rico Real-Time Recovery Fund
Two charitable organizations have partnered to aid Puerto Rico in its recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The non-profit ConPRmetidos has organized a fund raising drive on generosity.com (by the crowd-funding platform Indiegogo), with the Foundation for Puerto Rico acting as the fiscal sponsor. Every cent of every donation will go to the long-term relief effort for the survivors, the organizations say.
They plan to finance three kinds of work:
1. Needs assessment: In partnership with ConnectRelief.com, the organizations plan to enable communications across the island to help identify and prioritize needs.
2. Long-term structural repairs: The organizations will fund the rebuilding of marginalized communities and jump-start community driven efforts for further relief.
“Early reports on areas that we are targeting because they are known to be marginalized and vulnerable: Puente Blanco, Juana Matos, Vietnam, Amelia/Sabana and the Municipality of Culebra,” the organizations write in their funding drive on generosity.com.
“We already know the limits of FEMA’s help. For example if a homeowner has built an added structure to the house for an extended family, that structure, if damaged is not covered by FEMA. Residents without property titles aren’t covered either. Certain electrical appliances essential to life in the Caribbean are not covered either. Our fund will help in those instances. We are committed with the long-term, sustainable recovery and rebuilding.”
3. Power as service: The island lost power after Maria and the recovery fund will be directed at quickly providing access to energy.
“Energy solutions are a top priority because our already damaged infrastructure is now battered. Off-the-grid solutions will be the only means of power for communities and businesses,” the organizations write.
For more on the power restoration effort, E4C spoke with Miguel Columna at ConPRometidos. “We remain actively involved in the assessments phase of the ‘power as service’ commitment. As you can appreciate, the situation on the ground is very fluid and challenging, and so we’re being as diligent as possible in verifying the potential for implementation of the solution we’ve identified. But this will take a bit of time,” Mr. Columna says.
American Red Cross: “Donate blood”
The American Red Cross has called for blood donations in response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Find where to donate blood in your area with the Red Cross’ online tool.
The organization also points out that 90 percent of its workforce is volunteers, and this is where to apply.
Monetary donations are also welcome, of course.
Mercy Corps: “Urgent: Send Relief to Devastated Puerto Rico”
Mercy Corps is asking for aid to assist the survivors of two hurricanes in Puerto Rico.
“Mercy Corps has deployed an emergency response team to Puerto Rico to see how our global expertise in emergency response can support the efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance and start rebuilding the communities ravaged by the hurricane. Mercy Corps doesn’t currently have operations in Puerto Rico, so we’ll be looking for ways to support local organizations that need our help.”
UNICEF: “Help Protect Children from Harm”
UNICEF, the UN agency that works to protect at-risk children, claims that 90 percent of every dollar donated goes to its mission.
“From Puerto Rico to Mexico to the Caribbean, children urgently need our help to survive. Without immediate support, they are at high risk of deadly waterborne diseases.”
Help us with this list
Do you know of a reputable organization working to aid survivors in Latin America and the Caribbean? Please post about it in the comments. Thank you.