Puerto Rico is in dire need of clean water following the flooding and mass destruction caused by Hurricane Maria. Two weeks have gone by since the hurricane first hit, and now about 55 percent of the country is without usable drinking water, according to the US Department of Defense. While donations and supplies are welcomed in an effort to provide relief for the victims of the storm, obtaining clean water is one of the country’s top priorities.
In order to help the nearly two millions people currently without clean water, individuals and organizations have created fundraisers for water filters, water sanitation tablets, and other supplies that can help those affected by the disaster. Here’s what you can do to help right now.
1) Help Buy Filtration Straws
Charles Timms, an Air Force veteran with family in Puerto Rico, has decided to take action by starting a GoFundMe to purchase water filtration straws for victims of Hurricane Maria. “This is a LifeStraw and, with it, you can drink up to a thousand liters of water from almost any water source,” Timms told Oklahoma’s News 4.
“Scoop up the water, plug the straw in it and you have access to water – not water for a day but water for up to 10 months.” In partnership with the Puerto Rican Foundation of Oklahoma, Timms has already purchased 65 straws, which means 65,000 liters of clean drinking water, and he plans to deliver them personally. You can help by donating to Timms’ LifeStraw GoFundMe here.
2) Donate to Fund UNICEF Emergency Kits
UNICEF USA is collecting donations for Emergency Relief Kits that will provide the country with essential supplies to help children and their families who are currently without clean water. For a $28 donation, you can provide a family in Puerto Rico with a kit that contains water purification tablets, a water bucket with a lid, and water containers to collect and store clean water. Emergency relief kits will also contain basic necessities such as soap, toothpaste, laundry detergent, and sanitary pads. You can purchase a kit for a family in need here.
3) Support the American Red Cross
Along with deploying supplies such as food, insect repellant, and satellite cell phones to help victims contact their friends and family, the American Red Cross hopes to send as much water as possible to those affected by Hurricane Maria. Volunteers and community members are working to send water and supplies by air and by sea. You can contribute to the cause here.
4) Donate to World Vision
World Vision is a Christian charity organization that plans to equip local partners in Puerto Rico with the water and supplies necessary to help children and their families affected by the Hurricane. Among World Vision’s top priorities are providing food, water, and temporary shelter for those in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. You can contribute to their relief efforts here.
5) Support the Salvation Army
In addition to supplies such as food and relief kits, the Salvation Army and its local volunteers in Puerto Rico are working to help Hurricane Maria victims by providing them with fresh drinking water. The Salvation Army is already delivering 5,000 meals per day and 8,000 relief supplies per day in Puerto Rico, according to the Salvation Army website. You can contribute to the cause by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, texting STORM to 51555, or by mailing in your donation via check with the designation “Hurricane 2017.” Find more information about how to help here.
6) Contribute to Mercy Corps
Global humanitarian aid organization Mercy Corps has put together an emergency response team in an effort to provide water and supplies to Puerto Rico. Mercy Corps’ emergency response team seeks to immediately provide support to children and their families through clean drinking water, cash, and other necessary supplies. The organization also plans to help rebuild as much as possible after the devastation of the hurricane. You can donate to Mercy Corps’ relief efforts here.
7. Back the “Water Filters for Puerto Rico” Campaign
GoFundMe campaign “Water Filters for Puerto Rico” hopes to deliver as many Wave To Water filters to the island as possible by Saturday, October 7. The filters are lightweight and can be easily transported. A single $50 filter can provide clean drinking water for up to 100 people. You can contribute to the fundraiser here.
Other ways to contribute to disaster relief-including purchasing flights off the island, donating supplies, and donating to the reconstruction of homes- can be found here.