Hurricane Maria took down Puerto Rico's entire power system. There was no water, power or communications. Cano Martin Pena's community organizations performed disaster recovery without adequate resources. After Maria, Puerto Rico's government shut down 400+ schools island-wide, leaving empty buildings subject to blight. We will rescue 2 schools and create solidary-community kitchens/resiliency centers to be available during emergencies, empowering people to perform grassroots disaster recovery.
Hurricane Maria took down the entire island's power system, and all basic services were completely interrupted. Without power or water for cooking and refrigeration, people couldn't feed themselves well, and sanitation and thirst became issues. Without communications, people couldn't request desperately needed aid. Communities implemented grassroots disaster relief without resources. After Maria, the Department of Education closed 4 of Cano's 8 schools, leaving empty buildings subject to blight.
We will create two solidary-community kitchens / resilient emergency centers in newly vacated schools. Rainwater harvesting and solar power systems will guarantee self-sufficiency, even if island-wide services collapse. The kitchens will be equipped to help feed the communities during disasters. While there are no emergencies, community microentrepreneurs, like caterers, can rent the kitchens for a small fee, fostering economic development, and creating income to sustain the centers long-term.
Hurricanes are common in Puerto Rico; disaster recovery is necessarily disaster preparation. The centers will give Cano's densely populated communities, home to 20,000 people, the tools needed for grassroots recovery proven essential after Maria, making them more self-sufficient after future hurricanes, and improving resiliency to climate change. Rescuing abandoned buildings protects public health, while providing quality spaces for social interaction. The kitchens promote economic development.