Puerto Rico Flood Relief

Due to heavy rainfall that led to widespread flooding on February 5th, 2022, we partnered with a local grassroots organization, ProTechos, to train their staff and volunteers in Flood Response Operations. ProTechos is an organization that is still rebuilding roofs damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico. All Hands and Hearts has supplied them with equipment and experienced team leaders to allow ProTechos to respond to this and future events.

Our Work

As we began assessing impacted homes with our local partner organization, ProTechos, we heard stories of people with their heads barely above water. Partially gutted homes that had not seen any support since Maria. Roofs with heavy leaks and buckets underneath them placed by people that have accepted this is how they’ll live. Families still living together since being displaced, now having another hurdle to cross. Every impact amplified by the challenges left by Hurricane Maria.

These obstacles also highlight the resilience and strength of these communities. People starting grassroots efforts to help support others. Homeowners and families taking initiative and beginning work immediately. People thinking about their neighbors and supporting one another as they know support wouldn’t come from elsewhere. They all take it upon themselves to take care of their own and lift each other up. Still, with little some may have left; they share abundantly with each other.

Standing water found days after the rains

Working collaboratively with SBP and ProTechos in the town of Juana Matos in the municipality of Cantaño; we’ve been able to fix leaks and damage not only caused from this flood but also lingering scars left from Hurricane Maria. Each home we’ve worked on, we looked at not just sanitizing the home for mold but what we can do to minimize damage from future storms. ProTechos used their experience in roofing to seal leaks in impacted homes. This made it so when we sprayed for mold, all our groups would feel secure that the treatment would keep.

All Hands and Hearts will be demobilized on March 1st leaving behind the equipment to continue work and supporting training documents for ProTechos. Leaving them the equipment and knowledge of how to safely conduct flood operations, the groups will finish working through their work queue and be prepared to work more independently and immediately in the future. For future events in the area; We will look to support ProTechos and the communities they serve and continue providing technical support when needed.

Flooded building with inches of standing water outside

Disaster Profile

On February 5th heavy rainfall occurred in areas west of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The municipalities of Cataño, Dorado, Vega Alta, Vega Baja, Maunabo and Toa Baja were the most heavily impacted. Most areas saw over 6 inches of rain over 6 hours. The heavy rainfall combined with heavy waves as large as 13 feet; led to flooding across the region, especially along with coastal areas. The water remained in the streets and homes for days after the event until it started receding on February 9th.

The scars left behind by Hurricane Maria in 2017 are still evident and have exacerbated the impacts of this flood. There are still hundreds of homes that have not been able to have their roofs repaired which brings people further away from stability when disasters like this happen. Homeowners accepted that relief or support wouldn’t be an option for them and began clearing their homes as soon as the water had receded.

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