October 6, 2017–Operation USA has confirmed it will ship water purification supplies for 1,000 families to Puerto Rico this weekend. The water bags and purification chemicals will leave New Jersey on Saturday via donated corporate jet. OpUSA also continues to connect with hospital and clinic partners in Puerto Rico for possible shipment of hospital equipment and medical supplies to the area.
September 25, 2017–As Maria–now a tropical storm–moves north along the United States’ eastern coast, millions of people in Puerto Rico are reeling from the hurricane’s destruction. The island is completely without power after electrical infrastructure was totally destroyed, and millions of people have no way of communicating as phone systems are down. Reports this morning have quoted some residents saying conditions are “apocalyptic,” and Governor Ricardo Rosselló has warned of a worsening “humanitarian crisis” on the island. Meanwhile, additional threats remain as some dams have been overwhelmed by floodwaters and are at risk of failure.
Residents whose lives have been upturned by Maria are anxiously awaiting aid, as relief agencies are scrambling to arrange material aid shipments and to deploy staff. Logistical challenges–including the lack of power and challenges in getting people to Puerto Rico–are proving difficult at this time. Conditions are most critical for the island’s already-vulnerable populations, as hospitals and medical facilities are without the power and supplies they need to maintain patient care.
Operation USA remains committed to helping relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. To support our response, visit give.opusa.org.
September 21, 2017–Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm yesterday, battering the U.S. territory with extreme winds and heavy rainfall. The entire island is now without power, and some reports say it will be weeks, even months, before service is restored to more than three million people. After more than 30 inches of rainfall, some areas are experiencing extensive flooding, and officials warn that flash flooding and mudslides are still a risk as the storm pulls away from the island.
Puerto Rico’s largest airport is expected to re-open this week, allowing both relief aid to be delivered and survivors to flee the island, which has experienced devastation unlike anything seen in the last 100 years. The storm hit the island during a major recession, and already-vulnerable conditions across much of the territory have been severely exacerbated by the storm. It will take many years for residents to recover.
Operation USA is committed to providing relief and recovery support to Puerto Rico in the wake of this devastating storm. Donate now at give.opusa.org.
September 19,2017–Hurricane Maria made landfall in Dominica last night as a Category 5 storm. It is expected to maintain intensity and hit Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands this week as a Category 4 or 5, and experts predict the storm’s slow speed will cause hurricane conditions to linger for an extended time. Early reports from Dominica say the island has been “decimated” by the hurricane. Islands still in the storm’s path are preparing for the worst.
The National Hurricane Center today urged residents of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to “rush preparations to completion” in advance of the storm. The Center also forecast that Maria may be the worst hurricane in Puerto Rico’s history. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, residents are reeling as the second potentially catastrophic hurricane in two weeks bears down.
Operation USA continues to monitor the storm while also assisting relief and recovery efforts in Texas, where Hurricane Harvey caused unprecedented flooding, and in Florida and the islands, where Hurricane Irma brought destruction just two weeks ago. We will continue to assess needs as the storm moves toward the US, and will provide aid as opportunities allow. To support these efforts, visit give.opusa.org.
September 18, 2017–Hurricane Maria, now a Category 4 storm, continues to gain strength as it heads toward land. The storm–with heavy rainfall and 120mph winds–is forecast to make landfall this evening on Martinique and Dominica, in the Caribbean. Maria is expected to intensify and may become a Category 5 storm before directly hitting Puerto Rico later this week. Many people across the Caribbean and the southwestern US, having faced Hurricane Irma’s wrath last week, now may be again impacted by another catastrophic storm.
Puerto Rico’s governor has issued a state of emergency in advance of the storm’s impact. All those in the hurricane’s path are being advised to prepare accordingly and/or evacuate. Operation USA is monitoring the situation and will assess damage and prepare to provide aid as opportunities allow.
This is a developing situation. For the latest updates, click here.