NEW YORK – Diaspora organizations in the United States do not envision the large-scale shipment of supplies to Puerto Rico for the victims of Hurricane Fiona, since, with the handling of the Maria emergency, they concluded that both the island and federal authorities are not efficient in the distribution of the material.
This is how Puerto Rican activists from New York responded to the expressions of the governor of the island, Pedro Pierluisi. He initially asked to limit the shipments of basic necessities from abroad.
“The diaspora learned its lesson. Grassroots organizations on the island have asked us for help in direct monetary donations… We will coordinate with the Puerto Rican communities in the diaspora to help them,” Erica González, director of Power4PuertoRico, an entity that brings together more than 15 diaspora organizations in the U.S., told El Diario New York.
“That doesn’t change the fact that there are billions of dollars that have not been spent, that five years after Maria, there are thousands of homes with blue tarps, and there is still a lot to do to help people. Let’s learn the lessons of Maria and give the people the power to use the funds according to our idiosyncrasy and needs,” said the activist.
In response to the criticism received for his remarks, Pierluisi apologized on Tuesday and retracted his statements.
According to what he said in a press conference, what he meant was that the aid should be coordinated in advance to avoid logistical problems at the Port of San Juan.
“If you read accurately what I said, and I try to be very careful, what I said is that at this moment, we prefer that no help from abroad come in that would cause logistical problems in our main port in San Juan. I remember the congestion in the port of San Juan because help came in very well-intentioned but without proper coordination. There were containers with all kinds of supplies, some were not even claimed, and it was to some extent like a mess,” the governor said.
“I was referring to the help from outside to avoid unnecessary congestion in our main port. I made that expression to avoid the arrival of well-intentioned but uncoordinated aid. I am not referring to local non-profit entities,” he added.
“If some people misunderstood it, I am sorry, but no, on the contrary, the important thing is that we coordinate the response,” the governor pointed out.
The governor said that the best way to coordinate efforts is through non-profit organizations that can address the victims directly or through the mayors.
In addition to monetary donations to various community organizations, Puerto Ricans in the U.S. mobilized immediately after Maria’s September 2017 battering to collect emergency goods to get them to those affected by the system as quickly as possible.
However, due to a mixture of bureaucratic processes, lack of government liquidity, and coordination with federal authorities, the release of aid was another disaster.
Much of the material in the San Juan Convention Center storage space took weeks to leave and reach the most affected communities.
In addition, in January 2020, two and a half years after Maria, several warehouses were discovered in the town of Ponce with supplies that should have been distributed after the system passed through the island, a U.S. territory.
At the moment, there are several organizations inside and outside Puerto Rico that have mobilized to collect items and money to expedite rescue and recovery efforts.
For people who are outside the country and want to contribute to helping the islanders, we provide a list of money collection campaigns led by reliable entities.
Brigada Solidaria del Oeste
Western Solidarity Brigade is an organization created after Hurricane Maria to address the immediate needs of the communities impacted by the system.
You can donate:
ATH Móvil: /brigadasolidaria
Casa Pueblo, based in Adjuntas (center of the island), is a self-managed project community with an ecological approach that seeks to protect natural, cultural, and human resources.
Banco Popular PR Acct: #159116031
Comedores Sociales, Puerto Rico
Comedores Sociales is an entity that seeks to eradicate hunger in Puerto Rico through strategies of collective work and socialization of resources
ATH Móvil: /ComedoresSocialesPR
Ponce Neighborhood Housing Services
The organization in the south of Puerto Rico’s purpose is to strengthen communities through housing development, social, community, and financial education.
ATH Mobile: /PonceNHS
General Donation Page: https://www.poncenhs.org/about-3-1
Additional Donation Page: https://app.theauxilia.com/pay/PonceNHS_Donations
PRoTechos provides resources for rebuilding roofs in underserved communities by government authorities.
ATH Mobile: /Protechos
General Donation Page: https://protechos.org/donate/
VAMOS is a citizen consensus movement for Puerto Rico that includes groups and individuals who discuss and propose actions to address the country’s pressing problems.
ATH Mobile: /VAMOSPUR
General Donation Page: https://vamospr.nationbuilder.com/contribuye
ConPRmetidos is a federal non-profit organization that started in 2017 after natural disasters. Since that date, more than 20,000 people have contributed to his campaign, with an estimated $24 million in funds released for aid in different parts of Puerto Rico:
Donations can be through Google Pay, credit card, or bank transfer.
Respiro en Red
This organization offers support services to people diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers.
You can donate by credit card or ATH Móvil under /RespiroEnRed
Alianza Center serves Florida’s Puerto Rican and Hispanic communities by developing and promoting leadership around the environment, healthy living, and civic engagement.
You can donate through the “Stronger Together” page through Venmo, PayPal, Google Pay, or credit card.
Taller Salud is a feminist, community-based organization dedicated to improving women’s access to health care, reducing violence in community settings, and fostering economic development through education and activism.
To donate via PayPal:
Fundación Sin Límites
This organization is committed to social development and self-management in marginalized and poor communities in Puerto Rico.
ATH Móvil: /sinlimitespr
True Self Foundation
True Self Foundation focuses on helping LGBTQIA+ communities in a situation of vulnerability due to an emergency.
ATH Mobile: /TrueSelf
American Red Cross
The Puerto Rico chapter of the Red Cross is also processing donations for emergency victims. It is the largest humanitarian network in the world, with presence and activities in almost all countries. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to respect human life.
ATH Mobile: / Cruz Roja