Rebuilding a new Boys & Girls Club in San Lorenzo
Recently, two GlobalGiving team members visited our nonprofit partners in Puerto Rico to better understand how communities are recovering after Hurricane Maria. They met with community leaders to listen to stories of progress and heartache, and to jointly design new ways to support locally-led recovery and resilience efforts in 2020.
On Jan. 7, 2020, a 6.4 earthquake followed by hundreds of tremors caused significant damage to the island’s southwest region. With hearts heavy with worry for those we had just visited, GlobalGiving immediately contacted our partners to assess the latest relief needs. To support the earthquake relief efforts of the communities still grappling with the effects of Hurricane Maria, visit our Puerto Rico Earthquake Relief Page.
Here are three takeaways from our team’s recent visit to Puerto Rico:
Hurricanes amplify structural issues in Puerto Rico.
The destruction of Hurricane Maria exacerbated long-standing issues facing Puerto Rico, such as its debt crisis, out-migration, and aging energy infrastructure. People living in already precarious conditions were left even more vulnerable by the devastation the hurricane inflicted on the island. Local nonprofit partner G-8 has used recovery funds from GlobalGiving to support housing recovery and relocation in Caño Martín Peña communities, as well as to support a number of repair programs and advocacy campaigns focused on resilience to future disasters.
Civil society is the backbone of recovery.
The 2017 disaster caused more than $100 billion in damages, while federal aid distributed thus far to the island (approximately $14 billion of $41 billion currently allocated) has been well below what is needed for society to fully rebuild. Just this month the federal government announced it will finally begin the process to release housing funds for rebuilding. To fill this gap, local and international nonprofit organizations have been spearheading the recovery process. Local nonprofits, such as Taller Salud, engage in case management and advocacy efforts to ensure that all community members have a voice in an equitable recovery.
The generosity of GlobalGiving donors continues to sustain long-term recovery.
GlobalGiving made nearly $2 million in grants in 2019 alone to our trusted nonprofit partners based in Puerto Rico, with the support of individuals like you, to bolster the economic, social, and environmental recovery of communities across Puerto Rico. One recent grant is supporting the Puerto Rico Community Foundation to organize rural community leaders into a network focused on ensuring the sustainable use of 52 community aqueducts across the island. Over the long term, this work will contribute to safe and reliable access to drinking water in many communities that were heavily impacted by the hurricane. We will be sharing the progress of this grant and other initiatives in the coming months.
Members of our team will be returning to Puerto Rico in February, where we will be connecting with more of our trusted partners that continue to be at the forefront of Hurricane Maria recovery. From all of us at GlobalGiving, thank you for your inspiring generosity and support.
Andrea + the GlobalGiving Team
Home being repaired by local nonprofit, G-8