Humanity First Relief Efforts in Vieques, PR




Hurricane Maria caused catastrophic damage and a major humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. The category 5 storm hit the US territory of Puerto Rico on September 20th, 2017. There are 3.5 million in Puerto Rico which is equivalent to the State of Connecticut in size. Maria brought catastrophic damage and caused island-wide communication blackout by destroying the communications and power network. Most of the housing and infrastructure are left beyond repair and almost all vegetation has been destroyed. Since the disaster, most of the island is still struggling with relief efforts. First HF-USA Disaster Relief Team arrived on the ground in Puerto Rico on October 2nd, 2017. Immediately upon arrival the team connected with FEAMA, Office of the Governor of Puerto Rico, local authorities, and American Red Cross to assess medical and non-medical needs. HF-DR Team has been helping in the areas of in Guaynabo, Bayamon, Toa Baja, Villa Calma, mountain communities of Guara Guao, and Viequez Island. Medical need includes specialists as well as medicine, specially lifesaving medicine such as, bronchodilators. Over the past FOUR WEEKS, we had several teams going to Puerto Rico on weekly basis. Some volunteers stayed for almost two weeks. At any time, we have up to SIX volunteers from the US and 3-5 local volunteers serving the victims. For the past two weeks, we’ve had THREE medical teams who provided medical relief in different areas of Puerto Rico. As requested by local authorities, our teams consist of at least two medical personnel who has been serving at the local hospitals as well as visiting impoverished communities through mobile clinics organized by the government. HF-DR Medical Teams have served hundreds of patients in several communities and have been providing critical feedback to FEMA and Puerto Rican government regarding medical needs and required response strategy. HD-DR Non-Medical Teams have served over 150,000 meals, thousands of gallons of water, health & hygiene products, and other essential supplies to several hundred families. Due to high needs for continued relief, we intend to continue our relief mission till December 15th, 2017.