The Mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan, has pleaded for more aid to the beleaguered island while fending off criticism from President Donald Trump Saturday morning.
Trump on Twitter claimed that Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz has “poor leadership ability” and that Puerto Ricans “want everything to be done for them” in the wake of catastrophic damage from Hurricane Maria that left thousands without food, water and power. Trump’s denunciation of Cruz was likely in response to a rallying cry she gave Friday, in which she said: “Mr. Trump, I am begging. We are dying here.”
Here is how you can help Puerto Rico rebuild as the U.S. territory grapples with a growing humanitarian crisis:
Donate (preferably money)
A number of established charities from UNICEF to Save the Children are soliciting financial donations to assist in the relief effort. In the early stages of disaster relief, it’s better to donate cash rather than supplies as organizations on the ground can route money exactly where it’s needed. Material donations like food, clothing and supplies tend to require transportation, which is expensive and currently presents logistical challenges with many roads destroyed or flooded.
When donating funds, it’s best to go directly to the charity’s website and set up a payment from there. Some of the larger organizations to consider are:
- United for Puerto Rico
- Direct Relief
- Hispanic Federation
- Save the Children
- International Medical Corps
- Global Giving
Some organizations may have plans to focus on different aspects of relief, so do a little research to determine exactly where your money is going.
If you want direct control over where you want charity money to go, you can try launching your own crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for victims. Or, you can head over to GoFundMe’s Hurricane Maria hub, where you’ll find a number of organizations raising money for specific causes, like Students with Puerto Rico or Relief for Cayo Santiago Employees, who work on a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico that is home to the Caribbean Primate Research Center. There are plenty of other options, so check the hub’s page out.
Once the wave of first responders ensures that the situation in Puerto Rico is stabilized, the need for additional volunteers will increase. The Federal Emergency Management Agency directs aspiring volunteers to register here, and you can also look at a list of opportunities at the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
You may not get the call straight away. Countless others have similar desires to volunteer in Puerto Rico, but it’s important to consider that the battered island will need help in the months — if not years — to follow.
Spread the word
A simple post on social media or discussion with friends or co-workers can go a long way. Some people are still not aware of the extent of the damage, so any method you can use to spread the word may be able to convince others to help as well.
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