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How to help Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic now

When Hurricane Fiona hit the already-vulnerable U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, it brought with it 80 mph winds and more than 30 inches of rainfall in some regions. The National Guard rescued more than 1,000 people from rushing floodwaters, and, nearly a week later, most residents remain without power (60 percent) or clean water (33 percent). 

In the Dominican Republic, mudslides and flooding also wiped out homes, crops, and livelihoods. In the wake of Fiona, the water and electrical situation is similar to Puerto Rico – 80 percent were without power as of Friday.

Just last month, protesters in Puerto Rico took to the streets to voice concerns over a series of power outages affecting homes, businesses, and hospitals across the territory. Now, at a time when hospitals are more crucial than ever, the category one storm has once again devastated Puerto Rico’s power grid, which is still recovering from Hurricane Maria in 2017.

While recovery efforts continue and power is restored for some, an additional challenge comes in accessing some of Puerto Rico’s mountain communities. The rainfall from Fiona caused massive flooding and devastating landslides that washed out roads and isolated communities, making it close to impossible for many Puerto Ricans to get food, water, and other necessities.

To help you support these communities, we’ve compiled this list of U.S.-based charities that are working on the frontlines in The Dominican Republic and/or Puerto Rico, as well as surrounding areas. All of the charities on the list below are already approved to receive grants through the NCF right away. If you already have a Giving Fund at NCF, log in today to recommend a grant. If you don’t have a Giving Fund, you can open one in just minutes.

  • We encourage you to do your own research of these charities.
  • We also advise that you designate that your grant is for Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic. Some of these organizations are working in locations all over the world.
  • This is a developing story. If you know of other charities working in the area, please feel free to contact jturner@ncfgiving.com.

Americares

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Americares’ San Juan team is coordinating with public and private partners, including government response agencies as well as local clinic and nonprofit partners, to target the Patillas, San Lorenzo, Naranjito, Ciales, and Caguas for support. While needs assessments are just getting underway, and in many places are on hold until the flood waters recede, Americares is hearing from partners that there is and will continue to be urgent need for fuel support, solar power systems, hygiene kits, insulin, and psychological first aid (trauma counseling). They are also planning a response in the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Convoy of Hope

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Convoy of Hope is currently responding to Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. Their teams in both places are beginning distribution of supplies to people who need them. In addition, more team members and several truckloads of essential relief supplies are en route to Puerto Rico. Supplies, including food, water, hygiene kits, and baby supplies, are being loaded onto a ship in Florida to get to the island as quickly as possible.

Global Giving

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Global giving is providing support to relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and other affected Caribbean communities through an extensive network of vetted partners in the region. Initially, financial gifts will be used to help first responders meet survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. Then, they will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by vetted local organizations.

Mercy Chefs

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Mercy Chefs teams arrived Tuesday in Puerto Rico following Fiona’s landfall. They are providing hot meals and clean water to residents affected by the hurricane and flooding. As the majority of the island is still without power, air conditioning, and potable water, they arrived with their chef team and two water purification units that produce up to 300 gallons of clean water per hour. Working with local churches, they are expanding their distributions across the island over the coming days.

Mercy Corps

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Mercy Corps is surging support to local organizations they have been working with in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria in 2017. They are rapidly distributing items like food, potable water, and hygiene products. The quick activation of Mercy-Corps-supported Resilience Hubs after Fiona helps communities who know their needs best and are first responders during emergencies.

Project Hope

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Project HOPE has deployed emergency response teams to support existing teams on the ground in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico in response to Hurricane Fiona. As the storm strengthens and approaches Bermuda, Project HOPE will continue assessing the impacts on health facilities and identifying the most urgent medical needs of those impacted.

Samaritan’s Purse

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Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Assistance Response Team is on the ground in Puerto Rico, working with local churches and government agencies to respond to the tremendous needs caused by Hurricane Fiona – just as they did five years ago when Hurricane Maria hit the island. They are airlifting shelter materials, large-scale water filtration systems, and other essential resources. Gifts for this effort may be designated “Hurricane Relief.”

SBP (St. Bernard Project)

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SBP has been on the ground in Puerto Rico since 2018 and has built more homes than any other organization to date. Their disaster response teams are assessing damage, providing immediate recovery and rebuilding response, and preparing to help residents apply for FEMA awards. They are partnering with regional organizations in Puerto Rico and connecting with government leaders and other NGOs to ensure survivors and communities secure access to vital recovery resources, protect survivors from fraud, and set clear and aggressive recovery goals to build back quickly, prioritizing those who will struggle the most to recover on their own.

Water Mission

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Water Mission is a nonprofit Christian engineering organization responding to the historic flooding from Hurricane Fiona in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. A team of rapid responders is on the way to Puerto Rico to assess safe water, sanitation, and hygiene needs. After Hurricane Maria in 2017, Water Mission’s response met immediate needs and helped communities rebuild, often with better equipment than before. Many of the solutions built in 2017 remain operational today.

World Central Kitchen

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World Central Kitchen has relief teams on the ground in both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic getting freshly prepared meals to impacted communities and remains ready to scale up to prepare and distribute more fresh food and hot meals in both countries. The team includes chefs and volunteers that supported WCK’s efforts after Hurricane Maria devastated the island five years ago.

Photo courtesy of Mercy Chefs

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