It has been eight days since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The islands also endured significant damage from Hurricane Irma just two weeks earlier.
With your generous support The Salvation Army has been able to provide essential food, comfort and care to thousands of hurricane survivors.
As of Wednesday, September 27, The Salvation Army has provided the following support in response to Puerto Rico and the U.S.V.I. in response to Hurricanes Maria and Irma:
- The Salvation Army is delivering an average of 16,000 meals per day in San Juan, Loiza, Fajardo, Humacao, Guayama, Ponce, Areciro, Mayaguez, Penuelas, and Caguas.
- This totals nearly 267,000 meals and snacks since the impact of Hurricane Irma.
- The Salvation Army has partnered with the Dutch Reform Church to serve almost 57,500 meals and snacks, along with delivering food, water, and supply boxes to the poorest communities on the Island. These resources are delivered to nursing homes, one skilled care facility, and shelters of the American Red Cross and Catholics Charities.
- The Salvation Army is serving nearly 5,500 families daily.
- The Salvation Army is partnering with a local cafe to serve 1,000 families each day.
- The Salvation Army is serving nearly 1,000 families each day.
On Wednesday morning, September 27, The Salvation Army sent a team of eight officers and staff on an American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to San Juan. Thanks to the efforts from Philadelphia City Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez, Mayor Jim Kenney, the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management and Unidos PA’ PR, we were able to secure seats on the plane.
“Thank God we have the chance to go,” said Captain Jesus Corraliza, Corps Officer, The Salvation Army of West Chester.
The team of eight is among the first from the continental U.S. to join our Salvation Army staff in Puerto Rico. They will assist with The Salvation Army’s relief efforts already underway on the island. They will aid in assessing needs and work to coordinate resources to the impacted areas served by The Salvation Army.
The group, led by Major Don Sanderson of The Salvation Army’s Eastern Territory, went directly from the airport to a briefing with members of the Incident Command Team in Puerto Rico. The current command team was understandably exhausted, but excited and grateful for the additional personnel and resources to lead the path to recovery.
More than 90 percent of the island remains without power. Many of the 3.4 million residents do not have running water. Cell service communications is poor. Our facilities in Puerto Rico depend on the use of generators and fuel is scarce. Our team reported to us that there are only 20 gas stations operating on the island. People are waiting in line all day for fuel, which is selling for as much as 20 dollars a gallon, and rationed at 10 gallons per person.
Hundreds of people have been stranded at the airport in San Juan for days, many without food and water. On Wednesday, The Salvation Army set up an airport voucher system. All stranded travelers received a voucher for food, with “A Gift from The Salvation Army” written on them.
St. Thomas has been established as the incident command center for relief operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The islands are still without power or water. Shipments of MREs (meals-ready-to-eat) and other supplies have arrived this week for distribution to residents in need. Volunteers have been assembled in St. John to distribute clothing. Community partnerships with a local university, restaurants and other agencies have been essential to our relief efforts.
“The Salvation Army is determined to persevere through any challenge to meet our primary focus of service,” said Michael Orfitelli, Territorial Coordinator of Emergency Disaster Services. “We are grateful for the continued generosity of our donors and partners. These gifts provide food, supplies, and emotional and spiritual care to those affected by the devastating weather events.”
With a permanent footprint in the affected communities, The Salvation Army Disaster Services will continue to provide assistance until the need is met and beyond. Response efforts to this hurricane and flooding are expected be costly and last for years. The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation. These gifts allow us to provide food, supplies, and emotional and spiritual care to those affected by these devastating storms.
How You Can Help
Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY
Text to Give: STORM to 51555
Mail Checks (** Please designate “Hurricane 2017” on all checks.)
The Salvation Army
PO Box 1959
Atlanta, GA 30301