Samaritan’s Purse Provides Aid to 351,000 Hurricane Maria Victims in Puerto Rico
"Our team has been on the ground in Puerto Rico since day one—working to help families recover…" –Franklin Graham
In the year since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse has helped some 351,000 hurricane victims—more than 10 percent of the island's population.
"Our team has been on the ground in Puerto Rico since day one—working to help families recover from Hurricane Maria," said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse. "Most importantly, we are sharing God's love to Puerto Ricans who are hurting as we provide critical relief."
Samaritan's Purse relief specialists in Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean are continuing the work that began immediately after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, when the organization's DC-8 cargo aircraft made an unprecedented series of 41 flights in the span of 90 days. The plane transported more than 1,000 tons of emergency relief supplies as well as disaster response staff between North Carolina and the Caribbean.
"We are happy because, through Samaritan's Purse, we've seen that this world still has people who dedicate themselves to helping others in need," said 82-year-old Ana Luciano, who, with her 84-year-old husband Jose Rivera Serrano, cares for a daughter and son who have special needs. Their storm-damaged roof was repaired by Samaritan's Purse.
Samaritan's Purse has repaired 251 Maria-damaged homes and plans to do the same for at least 139 additional homeowners on the island by the end of the year.
In the hardest-hit areas of Puerto Rico, a solar project is bringing renewable, stable power for 100 households like that of Cecilia Burgos. The 88-year-old stroke victim needs a fan to stay cool, as well as reliable refrigeration for crucial prescription medications.
Since the storm hit, more than 300 Puerto Rican churches have partnered with Samaritan's Purse, serving as lifelines for residents by bringing crucial help to their surrounding communities—an effort that extends far beyond their congregations. During the recovery phase, Samaritan's Purse has repaired 30 damaged churches, with another 25 planned for repair in the coming months.
MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES AND RESOURCES
- Remote or in-person interviews with disaster relief specialists in Puerto Rico
- Solar energy project installation
- Repair and rebuilding efforts with local churches and homes
- Long-term aid in Puerto Rico continuing (2018)—Broadcast-quality b-roll and high-res photos
- Caribbean-wide relief beginning (September 2017)—Broadcast-quality b-roll and high-res photos
PUERTO RICO STATISTICS—Samaritan's Purse Aid to Hurricane Maria Victims
- 2,500 generator kits
- 75,000 tarps, helping households stay dry until permanent repairs can be made
- 34,000 grocery boxes, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency
- 12,000 solar lamps
- 24,000 Sawyer water filters
- 1,400,000 aqua tablets used to purify water
- 240,900+ gallons of clean water distributed
- Tens of thousands of buckets and jerry cans used to transport water
- 7,500+ Bibles
- 3,100 people served by 67 free mobile medical clinics
- 756 helicopter trips to deliver food, supplies and staff to remote or inaccessible areas
BACKGROUND: CARIBBEAN-WIDE RESPONSE
Samaritan's Purse first deployed teams of disaster response specialists across five Caribbean islands in the immediate aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria to provide medical help and distribute food, emergency shelter materials, clean water, hygiene kits and solar lights to families in need.
In addition to distributing relief supplies, the organization established 16 clean water points throughout the Caribbean that provided ongoing sources of clean water, totaling some 3.3 million gallons.
With the conclusion of the emergency response phase, the organization continues to ship additional supplies on barges, with more than 3,500 tons of aid shipped by air and sea to the Caribbean so far. Many supplies have also been sourced locally.
About Samaritan's Purse
Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, Samaritan's Purse has helped more than 94,900 families in the Caribbean, which includes disaster response efforts in Turks and Caicos, St. Martin, Puerto Rico, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda. Samaritan's Purse also helped more than 3,800 families impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida.