Stamford, Conn. – Sept. 19, 2022 – Americares is launching a response to Hurricane Fiona, which struck Puerto Rico’s southwest coast on Sunday, triggering life-threatening flooding and landslides that caused catastrophic damage to roads and bridges and leaving the entire island without power. The full extent of the damage is still unknown as power outages continue and a tropical storm warning remains in effect.
In response, the Americares team based in San Juan is prepared to deliver urgently needed medicines and relief supplies for survivors and provide emergency funding to help repair damaged health centers in the hardest-hit communities. At the same time, the Americares Puerto Rico team is contacting partner health facilities to assess the most immediate health needs.
“Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico almost exactly five years to the day that Hurricane Maria devastated the island,” said Americares Senior Director of Latin America and Caribbean Programs Dr. Brenda Rivera-García. “We anticipate that there will be an urgent need to replace medication and medical supplies damaged due to the flooding and power outages, and we also know that survivors will need mental health support as they navigate this crisis and the anniversary of Maria, which is likely to bring back painful memories.”
Americares has been on the frontlines of Puerto Rico’s recovery since its response to Hurricane Maria in 2017, delivering medicines, supplies, technical assistance and grants valued at $50 million to support survivors. The health-focused relief and development organization has increased access to medicine for low-income patients, helped clinics across the island better prepare for future emergencies and trained more than 38,000 health workers, first responders, teachers and community leaders to better manage their own stress and trauma so they can continue their lifesaving work. Beyond this, Americares also responded to the destructive 2020 earthquakes that struck the island’s southwest coast and launched a robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Americares has professional relief workers ready to respond to disasters at a moment’s notice and stocks emergency medicine and supplies in its warehouses in the U.S., Europe and India that can be delivered quickly in times of crisis. The organization responds to more than 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year, establishes long-term recovery projects and brings preparedness programs to communities vulnerable to disasters. Since its founding more than 40 years ago, Americares has provided more than $20 billion in aid to 164 countries, including the United States.
Donations to Americares Hurricane Fiona Relief Fund will support its response to the crisis. To donate, go to Americares.org/FionaRelief