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5 ways to help Puerto Rico in wake of earthquakes

Island hit with a series of earthquakes in just two days

Before dawn Tuesday, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico.

The southern part of the island experienced a series of powerful aftershocks that rocked homes, caused several buildings to collapse and cut electricity to parts of the U.S. territory. The earthquake killed one person and injured eight others, according to local reports.

Puerto Rico is still in a state of recovery and rebuilding after Hurricane Maria devastated the island as a deadly Category 5 storm in September 2017.

With hundreds of people sitting on the streets of Ponce, one of the cities hardest hit by the tremors, left to cook on barbeque grills and awaiting reports of further structural damage, the people of Puerto Rico are in need.

Residents survey damage where a home partially collapsed after an earthquake hit Guanica, Puerto Rico, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. A 5.8-magnitude quake hit Puerto Rico before dawn Monday, unleashing small landslides, causing power outages and severely cracking some homes. There were no immediate reports of casualties. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)
Residents survey damage where a home partially collapsed after an earthquake hit Guanica, Puerto Rico, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. A 5.8-magnitude quake hit Puerto Rico before dawn Monday, unleashing small landslides, causing power outages and severely cracking some homes. There were no immediate reports of casualties. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Here’s how you can help Puerto Rico right now.

Donate to relief efforts

In Central Florida, Latino Leadership is collecting donations to send to Puerto Rico. The non-profit is coordinating with island leadership and other organizations in Puerto Rico to distribute the donated items. Latino Leadership is asking for items like tents, cots, diapers, bug repellent and other medical supplies to provide for families in need. You can find a list of donation drop off locations on their Facebook page.

The Hispanic Federation launched its Unidos program for times like these. After Hurricane Maria, the organization created the program specifically for disaster relief, its resources reaching 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico by distributing first responders across the island and providing food and water to disaster victims.

The federation already has a team on the ground and a network of nonprofit organizations ready to provide long-term relief and support to those affected by the tremors, according to a Hispanic Federation news release. The organization says thousands of solar lamps are being made available for distribution as well as emergency funds for local health and human service providers placed in the affected communities. In collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico, the Unidos program is also providing mental health services across the island with a focus on trauma therapy after natural disasters.

To donate to the Unidos Program’s earthquake response efforts, click or tap here.

Help feed the island

Some homes were salvaged during the tremors but with aftershocks still possible and the island experiencing two powerful earthquakes back-to-back, the island’s leaders say there is a dangerous risk of further structural damage. That means families leaving their home fearing it could come crumbling down.

Local reports state people have roamed the streets searching for a place to eat or a safe location to wait for relief. The World Central Kitchen is already preparing meals for those affected by the quakes. The organization is run by Chef Jose Andres, who says he and other cooks and volunteers are already stationed at various southern municipalities ready to start cooking with solar power and generators on hand.

You can help by donating to WCK. If you’re looking to make the journey, you can also join its volunteer corps or its Puerto Rico relief team.

[READ MORE: Here’s why Puerto Rico is experiencing so many earthquakes]

Give to the American Red Cross

The Red Cross is already on the ground assisting people affected by the series of earthquakes. It is currently collecting donations that go into its general pool of disaster relief efforts.

The group provides donated blood, toiletries, installs solar networks in the wake of power outages, access to clean water and supports local health organizations with equipment and expertise.

You can donate to their efforts by clicking or tapping here.

[RELATED: Central Florida Puerto Rican community waits to hear from family after 6.4 quake | 5.8 magnitude quake strikes Puerto Rico, damaging homes]

Help with housing, medical aid

Americas is an organization focused on providing medical relief and building temporary structures for healthcare response teams. The group says its currently assessing the situation in Puerto Rico as its earthquake response team works to set up and assist.

The organization says for every dollar donated translates to about $20 worth of aid. A person’s donation is multiplied because Americares deliver medicine and aid to local health providers that live and work in the community, eliminating a lot of middle-man costs, according to its website.

You can contribute to their earthquake response team by clicking or tapping here.

You can also donate to the International Medical corps at this link.

Officials said donations help with relief supplies as well as psychological first aid to those who have been displaced from their homes.

Seniors who live at a nursing home sit outside their home after they were evacuated due to an earthquake in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico before dawn on Tuesday, killing one man, injuring others and collapsing buildings in the southern part of the island. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)
Seniors who live at a nursing home sit outside their home after they were evacuated due to an earthquake in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico before dawn on Tuesday, killing one man, injuring others and collapsing buildings in the southern part of the island. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Call your representative

Getting supplies to Puerto Rico is a hurdle, especially as hundreds are heading to the airport working to escape the disaster or fly in to help. The island is a U.S. territory meaning people born on the island are also U.S. citizens.

The island doesn’t have the same government representation as the people on the mainland though.

If you want to make your voice heard and help the people of Puerto Rico, you can contact your representative and ask them to assist in relief efforts.

You can find your representative by using your zip code and mail or e-mail your note. Make sure to encourage others to do the same if you’re wanting to make a bigger impact.

This story will be updated as more relief efforts come to light. If you know of any that should be added to this list let me know at gnunez@wkmg.com.


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