Maria, a category 4 hurricane, struck Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. It is regarded as one of the worst natural disasters on record, causing catastrophic damage and a major humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. Officially, at least 51 people were confirmed to have been killed and hundreds of others still missing. The winds tore off the roofs of houses and broke off the electric poles at their base.
SSIO disaster relief volunteers reported that the situation in San Juan is improving in some areas. There is no longer a fuel shortage, and more stores are reopening. There is a lack of hotel rooms but restaurants are returning into operation. The biggest issue at the moment is a lack of electricity. Even after a month, more than 70% of the population is without power. Traffic is stalled without proper traffic signals and telephones are barely functioning. The situation is further complicated with contaminated water, and gastrointestinal problems are rampant.
The Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSIO) rallied quickly. Sathya Sai members from the Dominican Republic and Miami sent items such as food, flashlights, batteries, and sanitary items, which were in short supply. These supplies were distributed at a shelter for families that had lost everything and didn’t even have a working generator. Soon, the desperate atmosphere in the shelter turned into one of hope.
The second wave of humanitarian relief rendered by the SSIO started on the island on Wednesday, October 26, 2017, when a SSIO water purification expert arrived with 750 water filters. These easy-to-assemble water filters can remove harmful bacteria, virus, precipitated metals, suspended solids greater than 0.1 micron absolute, and without needing electricity, pressure or chemicals. The SSIO volunteers could see the happiness and signs of relief in the eyes of families receiving the filters, reaching places as far as 2.5 hours away from San Juan, the capital city.
More details will be posted as they become available. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to support Sathya Sai Humanitarian efforts in Puerto Rico.