Hurricane’s Devastation Affecting Older Residents in Puerto Rico5 min read

by | Oct 11, 2017 | Thoughts

Over the last several weeks, the devastation in Puerto Rico has been met with some aid. However, there is still much work to be done. This is especially true when it comes to elderly and infirm residents who require extra supplies, medications, and aid to remain healthy in a situation where power outages, extensive flooding, and severe structural damages are common throughout the island. It is important not to forget about acts of kindness which have taken place, so this week, we’ll start by looking into a report of aid which has been given specifically to older residents suffering from the crisis. Then we’ll discuss what types of aid are still necessary to care for these most vulnerable of American citizens. Finally, we’ll report avenues which everyone can use to help get relief on the ground in Puerto Rico to help ensure the safety of all citizens affected by the storms.

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Help for Puerto Ricans

One of the greatest relief efforts from a private entity was granted to a Puerto Rican nursing home after an employee, Maria Ortiz, appeared on an ABC news report to ask for aid. She wanted to bring attention to the fact that their residents need additional help and the relief efforts currently in place were not going to make the cut. She was heard by Eyal Lalo, the CEO of a Florida-based company called Invictus, who sent their corporate jet with an estimated $15,000 worth of supplies to aid the nursing home according to ABC. The plane was filled with supplies ranging from food to sanitary items according to reports, and that particular nursing home is once again stable for the time being thanks to those efforts.

Aid still necessary in Puerto Rico

All residents of Puerto Rico are unfortunately still suffering due to lack of resources like food, fuel, and fresh water. This poses even more problems with older people who may require food and water at specific times to take medication. The medication itself may also be ruined by the storm and without aid people could be going without necessary life-saving medication. Help is slowly reaching the shores, with estimates around 5,000-6,000 including members of the National Guard and FEMA with more on the way. However, with residents unable to flee as they could in other affected areas throughout the continental United States, many are still in dire straits. According to a report by Jezebel writers Eileen Caraballo and Ellie Shechet, one woman who owns a nursing home had the nurse collapse after the storms. Yahaira Carrasquillo is dealing with the structural damage from the roof collapse as well as a broken generator and extensive damage from flooding. With no electricity, caring for patients who are bed ridden or on oxygen are unable to get life saving help, not to mention their kitchen was destroyed so providing food for residents becomes harder with each passing day.

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How can I help Puerto Rico

There are plenty of ways to help citizens affected by the devastation in Puerto Rico. The first is obvious and easiest: give money. Any amount helps as rebuilding efforts become costly quickly. FEMA, United for Puerto Rico, ConPRmetidos, and Global Giving are just a few of the organizations turning donations into on the ground efforts to rebuild the island. If possible, sending supplies like paper products, fresh water, and non perishable food items is also helpful. Check for Salvation Army locations and other local businesses sending care packages. Most importantly, make sure to do research to make sure the organization you use to give back actually puts money or supplies into the hands of citizens in need. Some organizations are better at providing aid than others, so be aware of where your efforts are going. Remember, any contribution is appreciated.