As Puerto Rico prepares for Tropical Storm Dorian, memories of 2017’s Hurricane Maria linger. Maria was the most intense hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years, causing devastating losses for residents and massive damage to key infrastructure across the island. As Tropical Storm Dorian nears, Puerto Rico has declared a state of emergency.
Hundreds of Red Cross disaster workers from across the U.S. responded in 2017 to help hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico, providing food, relief items, comfort and other critical support for families that often had nowhere else to turn. Read below to learn how the Red Cross continues to help in Puerto Rico.
SOLAR PANELS KEEP THE POWER ON IN SCHOOL SHELTERS
After Hurricane Maria, the Red Cross worked with federal and local officials, as well as other nonprofit and faith-based organizations, to identify the most urgent unmet needs caused by Maria and coordinate long-term recovery efforts. One of these needs was identified as consistent power.
As schools are central to Puerto Rican communities, the Red Cross worked on long-term recovery projects around the schools to help nearby families be prepared for the next emergency. Solar micro-grid power systems were installed to help ensure that schools can serve as emergency shelters with electricity to power lights, kitchens, water pumps and water heaters.
Several of these systems are in place in the communities of Yabucoa and Las Piedras, each with the ability to generate 50kW of power with a 10-year life span and durable enough to withstand 160 mph uplifts and flying debris.
Installing a consistent power source that can withstand the impact of severe weather will help mitigate the impact of future disasters on these communities. The Red Cross is also working with Water Mission, a nonprofit partner, to install solar micro-grid power systems supporting community wells, so residents can access clean and safe water in times of emergencies. These systems will serve communities that are not connected to the government water system and rely solely on wells.
Visit here for more information on how the Red Cross helped Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.