It’s been nine months since Hurricanes Irma and Maria dramatically impacted life for millions of people1 and caused an estimated $140 billion in damages2. Immediately following the news, people showed an outpouring of support, making donations and volunteering to assist with the utter destruction that hit U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. But what has happened since?
- Our colleagues at United Way U.S. Virgin Islands have provided crucial periodic mass distributions and support to schools and vulnerable populations. Senior center support, care packages, school supplies are just a few of the ways United Way U.S. Virgin Islands continues to provide aid and assistance.
- Fondos Unidos de Puerto Rico, (United Way Puerto Rico), has been on the ground, mobilizing resources to offer emergency shelter working with partners to deliver generators and other necessities.
- Through the United Way Hurricane Irma and Maria Recovery Fund, nearly $30 million has been raised for recovery efforts in the southeast U.S. and Caribbean.
Nine months later, power has not been fully restored in Puerto Rico, and there are still hundreds of thousands of people without power. United Way Worldwide staff members will visit Puerto Rico June 18 -20 to meet with Samuel Gonzales, CEO United Way Puerto Rico, and learn what still needs to be accomplished and how we can assist with ongoing recovery and rebuilding. Staff members will also visit the U.S. Virgin Islands mid-July and meet with Vinod Dadlani, CEO United Way U.S. Virgin Islands. Although United Way is not a relief organization, it does address community’s most pressing needs and when disaster strikes – that is the community’s most pressing need.
To read more about United Way’s recovery efforts in the Caribbean, click here.
1“Hurricane Irma's death toll, devastation and predicted path - everything we know,” The Telegraph (11 September 2017).
2“How Hurricanes Damage the Economy,” The Balance (March 20, 2018).