SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — As hurricane season approaches people across Puerto Rico are still reeling from last year’s devastating storms—Irma and Maria. That is why international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse is announcing a multiyear recovery plan aimed at rehabilitating more than 390 homes and 55 churches in central and southern Puerto Rico.
“It’s important for people in Puerto Rico to know they are not forgotten, and that God loves them,” said Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham. “We have been on the ground in Puerto Rico since the day Hurricane Maria hit, and we will continue to help them rebuild their lives.”
The organization also plans a much-needed solar energy project for 100 homes in Yabucoa, one of the hardest-hit areas on the island, where residents continue to be affected by intermittent power outages.
Teams will begin installing solar units this summer. The solar project is the first of its kind for the relief group. The time-intensive installation process will provide enough electricity for a small home, including enough to power a refrigerator, which is critically important when electricity is not available because it allows residents to keep crucial prescription medications and temperature-sensitive food items from spoiling.
MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES AND RESOURCES
- Remote or in-person interviews with disaster relief specialists in Puerto Rico
- Central and Southern Puerto Rico: rebuilding efforts with local churches and homes
- Yabucoa: solar energy project installation
- High-resolution, downloadable photos of work in Puerto Rico
- Broadcast-quality, downloadable b-roll from Puerto Rico
PUERTO RICO STATISTICS – Samaritan’s Purse Post-Maria Aid
- 1,900+ generator kits
- 75,000 tarps, helping households stay dry until permanent repairs can be made
- 34,000 grocery boxes, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency
- 6,000+ solar lamps
- 24,000 Sawyer water filters
- 1,400,000 aqua tablets used to purify water
- Tens of thousands of buckets and jerry cans used to transport water
- 1,540 Bibles
- 3,100 people served by 67 free mobile medical clinics
- 756 helicopter trips to deliver tons of food, supplies and staff to remote or inaccessible areas
In addition to 1,900 generator kits already distributed across the island, Samaritan’s Purse in April shipped another 500 generator kits, which include a generator, oil, a gas can and solar lights. The kits are being distributed to vulnerable families in remote areas of central Puerto Rico that still do not have access to power.
BACKGROUND: CARIBBEAN-WIDE RESPONSE CONTINUES
Samaritan’s Purse first deployed teams of disaster response specialists across a number of Caribbean islands in the immediate aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria to provide medical help and distribute food, emergency shelter materials, clean water, hygiene kits and solar lights to families in need.
Over the subsequent weeks and months, the organization’s DC-8 cargo jet made 44 round trips from North Carolina to the Caribbean, airlifting more than 1,000 tons of emergency relief supplies and key staff. With the conclusion of the emergency response phase, the organization is now shipping additional supplies on barges, with more than 2,000 tons of aid shipped by air and sea to the Caribbean so far. Many supplies have also been sourced locally.
In addition to distributing relief supplies, the organization established 16 clean water points throughout the Caribbean that provided ongoing sources of clean water.
More than 53 homes have been repaired, with another 112 targeted for completion by the end of the year. Samaritan’s Purse staff have completed repairs to one church and will work on five other churches that were significantly damaged. The organization also installed a reverse-osmosis plant that continues to provide safe water for families as they move back to the island.
Samaritan’s Purse staff plan to assist with an estimated 1,000 roof repairs. Over the next two to three years, the organization also plans to help rebuild some 30 churches and provide reconstruction support to approximately 825 people through home repair efforts. Samaritan’s Purse, in partnership with the local utility, continues to truck clean water to communities in need.
Samaritan’s Purse, the first relief organization to arrive after the hurricane with food, water and heavy-duty shelter materials, plans to repair 40 churches, restore 315 homes and provide 2,500 families with material assistance vouchers to purchase large appliances, lumber, windows, roofing supplies or other construction materials.
About Samaritan’s Purse
Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Samaritan’s Purse has helped more than 94,900 families in the Caribbean, which included disaster response efforts in Turks and Caicos, St. Martin, Puerto Rico, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda. Samaritan’s Purse also helped more than 3,800 families impacted by the hurricanes in Texas and Florida.