Clean water key to health in hundreds of communities

Leptospirosis was one of the causes of death after Hurricane María.  The disease, which is transmitted by the bacteria Leptospira found in the urine of infected animals, rats, dogs, cows, pigs and other wild animals, can live in water and soil for weeks or months, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Regrow Puerto Rico- food, culture and tourism

Visit Rico was born as an experiment in social entrepreneurism in 2014 to promote organic crops, the farm to table movement, culture and a unique tourist experience in Puerto Rico’s fertile countryside. The organization, which was the brainchild of Camille Collazo and part of her master’s thesis at the School of Visual Arts of New

Restoring a critical neonatal intensive care unit

Fearing the worst, doctors ordered the evacuation of Puerto Rico’s only supra-tertiary neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) as the might of Hurricane María approached the island. The fears were warranted. The NICU, located on the top floor of the island’s premier public children’s hospital, was affected by the partial collapse of the gypsum board on

Rebuilding with resilience in Puerto Rico

Source: Enterprise Community  Each of the 6,500 households in Puerto Rico still without reliable electricity is a victim of the island’s struggle to recover after the 2017 hurricane season. About half the 20,000 homes in the U.S. Virgin Islands still need repair, and thousands of residents in the Florida Keys continue reassembling their lives after

After suffering devastating blows, Aguadilla’s community hospital rises again

Hurricane María peeled the plaster off the wall of the Buen Samaritano Community Hospital in Aguadilla, ripped the air conditioning conduits on the roof and clogged the drainage pipes, which flooded the first floor of the hospital and damaged three of the hospital’s elevators. That would not be the worst the hospital would endure. Despite

Caring for people with severe disabilities during and after a major disaster

As they prepared for the second hurricane in a month, the designated staff of the Instituto Psicopedagógico were supposed to stay 12 hours to care for 88 special needs residents as Hurricane Maria made its way through Puerto Rico.  They ended up staying 72 hours to feed and care for the residents. “It was an

A catastrophe moves a nonprofit organization to go beyond its core misison

They were never meant to rebuild or build homes.  As a young foundation, VOCES, Fundación Topy Mamery was focused on providing music and art therapy to children removed from their homes who were living in shelters.  Then, Hurricane María hit and many of the homes where they provided their services suffered severe damages.  And, then

Mobilizing disaster response for community health needs

A red flag immediately came up when volunteer doctors treating members of an isolated community in Utuado realized an inordinate number of patients had gone without their high blood medication for months after Hurricane María. To their dismay they also found that diabetics were not on their medications. “There was surprise and concern,” explained Dr.

Proyecto Nacer: Helping teenagers form healthy families

Maria’s powerful winds tore through the roof of Proyecto Nacer, the only organization with a holistic program for teenage parents in Puerto Rico and their families, exposing the interior to incessant rain. Right after Hurricane María, the nonprofit organization founded in 2000 expanded its mission by helping surrounding communities of Bayamón, Naranjito, Toa Alta and

Legal aid to help in recovery efforts

As thousands of residents filed for emergency aid under the Federal Emergency Management Administration(FEMA) after suffering heavy losses due to Hurricane Maria, many saw their hopes dashed when their pleas for aid were rejected. The federal agency deemed they had insufficient proof to indicate they had title to their property. Although official numbers indicate around