Puerto Rico: Red Cross President Visits Relief Effort
Red Cross President Gail McGovern visits with Tyron Cespedes in Canóvanas. Puerto Rico. (Photo by Elena Sartorius/American Red Cross)
Lee Vanessa Feliciano and Red Cross President Gail McGovern with Myriam Medina with baby Gleysha Pérez in Canóvanas, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Elena Sartorius/American Red Cross)
Red Cross worker Nicole Vidal shows how to filter water in Canóvanas. Puerto Rico. (Photo by Elena Sartorius/American Red Cross)
Residents of the territory of Puerto Rico are still struggling to recover from the devastation of this year’s massive hurricanes and more than 350 American Red Cross disaster workers are there, supporting relief efforts on the island.
Recently American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern visited Puerto Rico to see firsthand the current situation there and how the Red Cross is helping people who have lost everything. (See slide show) Her trip included a visit to Canóvanas, where relief workers are providing food and comfort, along with water filters to help ensure the water people use is safe from bacteria, viruses and toxins. The Red Cross has distributed thousands of the high-volume water filters across the U.S. territory.
Since Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico, as of November 28 the Red Cross and its partners have served more than 6 million meals and snacks, distributed more than 2.9 million relief supplies, and provided more than 26,900 mental health and health services to people in need.
In Puerto Rico, emergency relief efforts continue with a strong sense of urgency. Red Cross teams are in the field daily, distributing life-sustaining food and water, and providing home visits for health and mental health needs to island residents. Many people are still living without power and remain isolated.
Hurricanes Maria and Irma have left an indelible imprint on Puerto Rico. There are little or no banana or plantain plants remaining, a food staple. Fruit trees of every kind have been decimated on the island, impacting food availability and income sources for years to come. Banana family crops will take a year to recover. Locals say that mature avocado trees will likely take five years to bear fruit again, if they survived at all as Hurricane Maria completely upended many productive trees.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.