It’s been nine months since Hurricane Maria changed life in Puerto Rico forever. Awareness and support for recovery efforts have begun to dwindle. And in hard-hit towns like Yabucoa, a community of around 30,000 people, which was among the hardest hit communities, normalcy is taking longer than hoped to achieve. As the entry point to the hurricane, Yabucoa became ground-zero to the impact of the sustained winds, water damage, and more than three subsequent tornadoes that spawned after Hurricane Maria.
To date, the majority of the community remains with little consistent power, services that continue to be hampered by the environmental conditions caused by the hurricane (downed power lines, blocked roads, damaged infrastructure, etc.), and morale is down. In our ongoing efforts to support Puerto Rico’s recovery, fueled by the Unidos Por Puerto Rico grant, the OHorizons team has spent time distributing equipment in and around the town of Yabucoa. We visited in April, working with Mayor Rafael Surillo’s staff, to help over 200 families with over 375 solar powered lighting and phone charging systems, each capable of providing light and power for up to 15 hours per day. We also delivered a solar powered refrigeration unit to a woman’s shelter in the Caguas region which has been without consistent refrigeration for over 6 months, allowing them to safely store perishable food and medicines, impacting dozens of individuals. We also re-visited the community of Rio Grande, where we had previously spent time and made great connections. We distributed an additional half dozen solar home systems to 8 different families there.
We're heading back again next week to continue our efforts and support.
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