Puerto Rico Earthquakes: Here’s How You Can Help

Clean up in Guanica, Puerto Rico on January 8. Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images

Puerto Rico has been hit by a series of earthquakes in the past several weeks, the largest a 6.4-magnitude earthquake on January 7.

A magnitude 5.9 quake shook Puerto Rico on Saturday, January 11 and a 5.1-magnitude quake occurred on Wednesday.

Gov. Wanda Vazquez told the Associated Press recently that the estimated damage so far is $110 million, but that number is sure to rise. More earthquakes and aftershocks are forecast and tsunamis could occur in coming days.

“Thousands of people are seeking refuge in more than 20 government-run shelters,” the Red Cross said. “Aftershocks are still happening and many people are still sleeping outside for fear their homes will collapse if another earthquake strikes the region. Hundreds of quakes have touched the island since December 28. The repeated quakes coupled with power loss is traumatic for communities still recovering from Hurricanes Maria and Irma.”

Here’s how you can help.


Donate to the World Central Kitchen, Founded by Award-Winning Humanitarian and Chef Jose Andres

World Central Kitchen was created 10 years ago by award-winning chef Jose Andres and his wife Patricia to “create smart solutions to hunger and poverty.” Now it stays busy by mobilizing to disaster zones and helping feed people who often have no power or electricity.

World Central Kitchen has fed people all over the world after natural disasters and political unrest, including Mozambique, Haiti, Columbia, Tijuana and California.

Chef Jose Andres was presented with the 2015 National Humanities Medal by then-President Barack Obama. He was also named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in both 2012 and 2018 and was awarded “Outstanding Chef” and “Humanitarian of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation, according to his bio.

Click here to donate to World Central Kitchen.



Donate to Mercy Corps, Which Was Created In 1981 In Response to Cambodian Refugees Fleeing Famine, War and Genocide

Mercy Corps traces its roots back to 1979 during the period of Cambodia’s Killing Fields, where more than 1 million people were killed by the Khmer Rouge regime. Mercy Corps said it has since provided $4 billion in lifesaving assistance to more than 220 million people over the last 40 years.

The organization has been working in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017. “In the coming days and weeks, we will distribute solar lanterns, equipped with USB chargers, and emergency cash to affected families,” Mercy Corps’ Director of Puerto Rico Karla Peña told Heavy. “Solar lanterns provide a much-needed source of safety, light and energy to charge devices, and emergency cash enables families to purchase what they need most. We’re also continuing to support the local community centers we’ve been partnering with since Hurricane Maria to better prepare for disasters like this. We’ve been transforming community centers into resilience hubs complete with solar panels, community gardens, emergency kits and disaster preparedness training. Following the earthquake, the community centers we’ve supported have activated their emergency preparedness plans and community members are gathering at the hubs to access energy, clean water and communication.”

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Click here to donate to Mercy Corps.


Donate To Water Mission, Which Helps Provide Clean Drinking Water Around the World

Water Mission was formed by Molly and George Greene, who operated an environmental engineering company in Charleston, South Carolina, when Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras in 1998. Water Mission was officially formed in 2001.

“As power outages continue for residents of #PuertoRico, the installation of our solar-powered, safe water systems keeps water flowing. Our commitment is to create sustainable, long-term solutions wherever we serve,” Water Mission said on Twitter.

Water Mission has been working in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit the island in September 2017.

“Water Mission mobilized shortly after the storm hit, and initial assessments uncovered a unique need. With electricity knocked out for most of the island, there were hundreds of rural communities with intact water systems that were inoperable because there was no power available. Power is a part of every water project, so Water Mission disaster relief teams immediately started focusing on reconnecting the existing water systems to reliable power sources,” Water Mission said on its website.

Click here to donate to Water Mission.


Donate to Team Rubicon, a Group of Veterans Who Put Their Military Training To Use in Disaster Zones Across the World

Team Rubicon was formed after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince and thousands of people came to help and volunteer. Two former Marines, Jake Wood and William McNulty, and a small group of other veterans went to Haiti to put their military skills to work in the devastating natural disaster zone.

The Story of Team RubiconThe story of Team Rubicon was written by a team of eight who travelled to Haiti to provide aid immediately after the 2010 earthquake. Today that story is continued through the service of over 16,000 strong. The phrase "burn the boat" refers to the general, who upon landing on the enemy's shore, orders his men…2013-04-10T15:54:51.000Z

Team Rubicon has since become a force in disaster relief and has responded in nearly every major natural disaster since. Its members are accustomed to working under difficult circumstances.

“Team Rubicon can work under the direction of a governmental entity or agency (based on requested function) and integrate fully into an existing Incident Command System structure to perform disaster response functions,” its website says.

Click here to donate to Team Rubicon.


For More Places To Donate or Volunteer, Check Out This List Of Charities Approved By Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator has been rating charities since 2001. They rate on two major categories: financial health and accountability and transparency.

“In the immediate wake of Hurricane Maria [in 2017], Charity Navigator published a list of highly-rated organizations that confirmed they were providing aid and relief to individuals and families affected by the storm,” Charity Navigator posted on its website. “We recently surveyed these charities to see who is still present on the island and working alongside communities in need. Please consider supporting one of these trustworthy organizations as they continue to deliver much-needed short- and long-term support to the people of Puerto Rico.”

Click here to read Charity Navigator’s list of organizations helping in Puerto Rico.