PUERTO RICO – Over the last 4 days a series of earthquakes and aftershocks have taken place on the island of Puerto Rico, the most damaging being Tuesday morning’s 6.4 magnitude quake just southwest of Ponce. The tremors have impacted multiple communities damaging homes, buildings, roadways and other infrastructure including electrical and water services.
Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services personnel began assessing impacted communities within hours of the earthquake, and services to the impacted communities have already started in some of the hard-hit areas. Mobile units are providing support with hot meals and various commodities to help responders and disaster survivors, and four Salvation Army Recovery Centers have been opened to the public to provide cell phone charging for critical family communication, and emotional and spiritual care.
Major Eric Rodriguez, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands said, “We are providing hot meals to emergency personnel right now and a number of goods including blankets, diapers and other supplies to all of those displaced from the quake”. He went on to say, “We are continuing to coordinate with our partners and government officials to provide services to those in the most impacted areas on the island”.
Immediately following Tuesday’s quake, more than 80% of the island was without power and nearly 30% without water, mainly in the southern and western regions. Power remains out for more than half of the population and lack of water service continues to affect those in some of the hardest hit areas.
Although the full scale of physical damage to properties is still being assessed, we know those impacts to be substantial in areas from Ponce west, particularly in the communities of Guanica, Guayadilla and other costal areas.
Services are anticipated to increase as more resources come on-line. Support personnel from the US mainland will arrive today to assist Puerto Rican disaster response personnel in assessing and coordinating the needs of impacted communities.
Monetary donations in support of the ongoing relief efforts are being accepted. Donations can be made online at www.helpsalvationarmy.org, or mailed to:
The Salvation Army
PO Box 3095
Harlan, IA 51593