Hurricane and Earthquake Disaster Relief
Following a magnitude 4.7 earthquake on December 28, 2019 the Island of Puerto Rico has been repeatedly rocked by earthquakes, over 500 of which have been a magnitude 2.0 or greater and 30 of which have been at a magnitude of more than 4.0. Following the multitude of earthquakes over the past couple weeks, Puerto Rico experienced the strongest earthquake in more than a century near Guayanilla, a city on the Island’s southwest coast, which left one dead and several others injured.
More than 1,200 tremors of varying magnitude have shaken the already vulnerable region over the past three weeks leaving thousands without homes and exposed to the elements. The residents of Guayanilla, Guanica, Yauco and Ponce have been hardest hit, with five of the six municipalities estimating debt totaling over $460 million. These earthquakes come in the wake of recovery efforts from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which battered the Island over a span of two weeks in September 2017.
The devastation and destruction experienced by Puerto Rico has touched Chicagoans in a profound, heartfelt way. Chicago is home to more than 100,000 residents of Puerto Rican descent, and this population contributes greatly to the City’s vibrancy especially through celebrations of their culture. Additionally, Paseo Boricua is the only officially recognized Puerto Rican neighborhood in the Country.
The City of Chicago has offered its support to the impacted regions and is providing resources as needed. Mayor Lightfoot encourages Chicagoans to consider supporting organizations assisting with relief efforts and the long recovery ahead in Puerto Rico.
Donating in Emergencies
According to FEMA, cash donations are preferred to allow organizations the most flexibility to address needs on the ground. Please do not donate unsolicited goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, medicine, or perishable foodstuffs at this time. If you choose to donate, be sure to contribute funds through a trusted, legitimate organization and website. Check Charity Navigator to determine the best organizations to donate to.
Here is a list of verified charities and organizations assisting with relief efforts where you can donate or volunteer:
- National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD)
- American Red Cross
- International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
- Doctors Without Borders
Relief for Puerto Rico
The Puerto Rican Agenda’s 3Rs Initiative: Rescue, Relief and Rebuild: Chicago-based effort to provide immediate, strategic, and meaningful support in the wake of earthquakes and beyond.
Listed below are Puerto Rican-based efforts working on immediate relief and sustainability.
- El Nodo Ponce: promotes economic development through small business incubators and preservation of historic buildings
- Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico: provides legal education and representation for those affected by natural disasters
- Dr. Iris Zavala Martinez: psychologist leading brigades of mental health practitioners to provide interventions
Evacuees from Puerto Rico can access a wide range of resources such as shelter and food at the Trina Davila Community Service Center by calling 312.744.2014 or visiting the center at 4312 W. North Ave on Monday - Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.