As we begin Long Term Recovery (LTR) efforts in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, we have met with several corporate entities, partner agencies and FEMA. We continue to create our organizational structure around the principals of collaboration and relationship building with allies throughout the region.
As noted in previous updates, there are still parts of Puerto Rico without power and water, and the infrastructure continues to be a major problem. With many traffic lights still in disrepair, road signage gone, and potholes large enough to swallow small vehicles, traffic is impeded with hazards that make travel dangerous. Accidents are common place, and getting around can be a great challenge. Downed power lines, debris, and abandoned buildings add to the general unsightliness, as there is an overwhelming amount of repair needed. All of this creates real need for emotional and spiritual care, a focused priority for The Salvation Army. We have set aside funds to make referrals to mental health professionals, as needed.
Long Term Recovery – Houses to Homes (H2H)
As always, to invest in the affected communities local economy, the LTR staff and Territorial Disaster Services are in discussions with the local stores of Berrios and Sears/K-Mart to will provide appliances, furniture and household goods throughout the islands. In a special partnership, Sears/K-Mart has been working with The Salvation Army to provide solar generators for those medical needs cases where ongoing power is a requirement.
For the past few months, The Salvation Army has been working with FEMA to aid those moving from temporary shelters to transitional or permanent housing. The Salvation Army has delivered appliances, offered to pay rental deposits, and has provided home goods to make the transition easier. FEMA has also referred a number of dire cases in vulnerable areas where The Salvation Army was able to provide clothes, shoes, cutlery, water filters and household goods.
In the US Virgin Islands, The Salvation Army continues to furnish homes with appliances, furniture, and home goods. Soon, the organization will be reviewing a number of projects to aid both young and college aged students on the islands.
There are a number of innovative ideas that have been developed to meet the needs throughout the PR/VI Division.
A recent Harvard study put the death toll in Puerto Rico at close to 5,000 people, far more than initially reported. To meet the growing needs of those with access and functional needs, TSA will help vulnerable individuals who may be elderly or who have a disability or serious medical need. The Salvation Army has provided close to 50 generators to families who are medically dependent upon power.
Statistics for this period are less robust, as we are just beginning to receive cases. Only those homes that are viable will be eligible for long term recovery from The Salvation Army. Food and water distribution has slowed as many communities have access to these goods, and we want to support the local economy. Here are the current highlights:
Meals Served/Food Boxes
Cases of water
Clean water from water filtration kits
Hygiene kits and products
Senior Care kits
Children’s toys, bikes & educational items
Clean up kits and tarps
Move in kits
Clothing – items distributed
153,274 (3,678,576 bottles)
Cumulative stats through July 15th, 2018