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Program Summary

Earthquake Assessment

Since late December, more than two thousand earthquakes have occurred in southern Puerto Rico. Many of these earthquakes were magnitude 4+, including a 5.8 on January 6th and a 6.4 on January 7th — the most damaging earthquake to Puerto Rico in over a century. Aftershocks have been occurring regularly since a 5.9 earthquake occurred on January 11th, however, these have reduced in frequency.

State and Federal emergencies were declared shortly after the January 7th quake. An island-wide blackout occurred for at least two days, and as a result, access to water was cut off to almost 300,000 people. Power has been restored to most of the island at this point, but the system remains extremely frail.

The Puerto Rico National Guard has built tent cities in Ponce, Peñuelas, Guayanilla, Yauco and Guánica in hopes of providing shelter to thousands of displaced people. Most individuals and organizations engaging in relief work have been focused on supporting the distribution of supplies, coordinating deliveries of goods and materials, as well as sourcing applicable items. Scopes of work are being reevaluated and adjusted as the situation progresses. 

Groups of All Hands and Hearts volunteers have been working alongside World Central Kitchen, as they are serving more than 10,000 meals per day to impacted community members. Additionally, we have supported Brigada de Todxs in constructing sleeping cots for those currently living in community camps.

We are continuing to work with local communities and partner organizations to determine where else we can assist. Further developments regarding the need and relief efforts will be highly dependent on the severity of earthquakes over the next few weeks.

Our team of staff and volunteers in Yabucoa are safe and continuing Hurricane Maria recovery efforts.

Active Hurricane Relief Program

In September 2017, Hurricane Irma landed in Puerto Rico with the strongest winds the island has ever seen. Not long after, Hurricane Maria’s ferocious 155 mph winds struck the island, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Hurricane Maria first made landfall over the municipality of Yabucoa, affecting the 37,000 residents who call it home. This area bore the strongest brunt of the storm, where hundreds of homes are still in need of basic roof repairs today. The interior of the island; the mountain municipality of Barranquitas, was also devastated by the storm and became nearly inaccessible for weeks due to landslides. Moreover, the city of Toa Baja suffered flooding from the hurricane itself, in addition to the subsequent release of dams, resulting in flood waters over 10 feet high.

Our Work

September 2019 marked the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria and our volunteers are still hard at work helping to rebuild affected communities.

To date, we’ve worked on mucking and gutting projects, debris removal, repairing of roofs, performing mold sanitation and critical repairs on windows and doors. We’ve also been working with our senior technical advisor to develop best practices in the field and were able to expand our scope of work to include repairing corrugated galvanized iron roofs and creating Standard Operating Procedures for concrete roofing.

Our relief efforts in Yabucoa are still going strong and we’ve committed to continue work until March 2020. Teams have been working hard to re-seal roofs, install hurricane-resistant external doors and windows and sanitize homes from mold. We have also restored community centers, parks and baseball fields to bring back a sense of normalcy to the community.

Baseball is more than just a game in Puerto Rico, it brings communities together. The Mendez Baseball field was home to the Little League World Series (Caribbean Region), but unfortunately, the field was destroyed after Hurricane Maria. Following the storm, there were no recreational facilities in Yabucoa, no place where children could escape from their damaged homes, or where friends and families could gather and regain a sense of community.

Thanks to our incredible team of AHAH staff and motivated volunteers, this is no longer the case, and the beloved Mendez baseball field has been repaired and restored. We’re proud to be able to help bring a sense of normalcy back to the community, and provide the children of Yabucoa with a place to play, learn and host international games.

Our Impact

Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, who gave 66,712 combined volunteer hours to help rebuild Puerto Rico, we’ve completed our programs in Barranquitas and Toa Baja.

Our work continues in Yabucoa, assisting a community still reeling from these hurricanes.

The time to get involved is now. Please make a donation or register to volunteer today! Thank you for supporting our disaster relief efforts!

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All Hands and Hearts Disaster Relief Volunteer Hurricane Dorian
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Lives Impacted
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Program Work

Thanks to critical support from partners, donors, local community, and volunteers from around the world, we have been able to run impactful programs in Puerto Rico since January 2018. Our work in Yabucoa continues as we strive to support the community on their long road to recovery.

All Hands and Hearts base work

Base Work Base Work

Our bases are communal living spaces we strive to make feel like home for each and every volunteer. Every day, a group of volunteers are asked to remain on base for the day to perform a base clean up to ensure the living space remains a clean, tidy and welcoming environment. Additionally, we often request help for special projects from volunteers who possess unique skills; these may include translating, plumbing, electrical work, architectural expertise and more. By leveraging the skills of our volunteers, outside of the typical volunteer work, we are able to better support communities.

All Hands and Hearts base work

Base Work Base Work

Our bases are communal living spaces we strive to make feel like home for each and every volunteer. Every day, a group of volunteers are asked to remain on base for the day to perform a base clean up to ensure the living space remains a clean, tidy and welcoming environment. Additionally, we often request help for special projects from volunteers who possess unique skills; these may include translating, plumbing, electrical work, architectural expertise and more. By leveraging the skills of our volunteers, outside of the typical volunteer work, we are able to better support communities.

Debris Removal Debris Removal

Debris removal is classified as the removal of personal items, appliances, furniture or vegetation that were damaged or destroyed by the disaster and are found outside of the physical structure. This step is considered complete when all items to be discarded have been removed from the property being worked on and any remaining undamaged items are salvaged and placed in a safe location. For information on removal of items within the structure, see mucking and gutting.

All Hands and Hearts Debris Removal
All Hands and Hearts Debris Removal

Debris Removal Debris Removal

Debris removal is classified as the removal of personal items, appliances, furniture or vegetation that were damaged or destroyed by the disaster and are found outside of the physical structure. This step is considered complete when all items to be discarded have been removed from the property being worked on and any remaining undamaged items are salvaged and placed in a safe location. For information on removal of items within the structure, see mucking and gutting.

All Hands and Hearts Mold Sanitation

Mold SanitationMold Sanitation

Mold sanitation is the process of using chemicals and equipment such as moisture meters, dehumidifiers and fans to eradicate abnormal mold and mildew growth. This process dries the structure, controls humidity and reduces the moisture content of structural components prior to repairing or rebuilding. Through the mold sanitation process, volunteers thoroughly scrub the house to remove mold and spray with chemicals that prevent re-growth. This process ensures dangerous, illness-causing mold is irradiated and creates a safe home environment.

All Hands and Hearts Mold Sanitation

Mold SanitationMold Sanitation

Mold sanitation is the process of using chemicals and equipment such as moisture meters, dehumidifiers and fans to eradicate abnormal mold and mildew growth. This process dries the structure, controls humidity and reduces the moisture content of structural components prior to repairing or rebuilding. Through the mold sanitation process, volunteers thoroughly scrub the house to remove mold and spray with chemicals that prevent re-growth. This process ensures dangerous, illness-causing mold is irradiated and creates a safe home environment.

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A dry home

All Hands and Hearts volunteers help to fix the roof for Juan Ignacio Capilla [79] and his mother Francisca [93] after Hurricane Maria.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Frank

Frank Giustra, CEO of The Fiore Group and founder of The Radcliffe Foundation believes that we all seek purpose in our lives but that a vehicle for that seems to be lacking in our society. Through his philanthropic work, Frank has been able to fill this void and inspire others to do the same.

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