More than a week after Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, 97% of the island is still without power, and half of its 3.4 million residents are without water.
The situation is dire, and hospitals are being affected. Due to a shortage of medical supplies, those who are sick or injured aren’t able to receive proper care.
“Without sufficient power, X-ray machines, CT scans, and machines for cardiac catheterization do not function, and generators are not powerful enough to make them work,” The New York Times writes. “Only one in five operating rooms is functioning. Diesel is hard to find. And with a shortage of fresh water, another concern looms: a possible public health crisis because of unsanitary conditions.”
That’s why athletes with strong ties to Puerto Rico are doing what they can to funnel relief to the area.
Former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, who is from Puerto Rico, and his wife, Laura, launched a fundraising page immediately after the storm hit. At the time of this writing, more than $200,500 has been donated.
Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea launched his page as well.
“Growing up and living in an island in the Caribbean, we are used to confronting hurricanes, but we’ve never experienced such a devastating one as María,” he wrote on YouCaring. “We were calmed while we were in contact with our families, but losing communication with them was nerve racking. Seeing all the devastation in the news and the inability to help prompted us to start a fundraising campaign to help our beautiful Island of Enchantment.”
Not only that, but Mavs owner Mark Cuban let Barea borrow the team plane to deliver food, water and medical supplies directly to Puerto Rico, according to WFAA.
The 33-year-old, who is just the seventh Puerto Rican to play in the NBA, missed the first day of his team’s training camp to take the trip.
Professional tennis player and Olympic gold medal winner Monica Puig started her own YouCaring page, which has raised more than $80,000 thus far.
L.A. Dodger Enrique Hernandez did the same for his home country.
“Words can’t describe how devastated we feel by the destruction that Maria has caused to our people and our home of Puerto Rico,” he wrote on his page. “It could take months/years for the island to recover. Puerto Rico was left completely without power, most lost their homes and have no way of communicating due to loss of coverage.
“But, we are confident that we will come out of this stronger than ever! Like Puerto Rican’s say “en la union está la fuerza” (in the union we find strength).”
Carlos Beltran kicked in $1 million for his beloved island, and his team, the Houston Astros, has partnered with Crane Worldwide, FexEx and the Houston Mayor’s Office to send more than 240,000 pounds of supplies via air cargo on Thursday, according to ABC13.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 26, 2017
With the U.S. government’s response to the disaster moving at a slow pace, here are some ways you can help, according to PBS.
- United for Puerto Rico (spearheaded by the First Lady of Puerto Rico)
- Center for Popular Democracy
- Hispanic Federation’s “Unidos” page
- International Medical Corps
- Former U.S. presidents have expanded their One America Appeal to include recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
- All Hands Volunteers
- Catholic Relief Services
- Direct Relief
- Save the Children, which focuses specifically on the needs of families and their children.