In September 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall 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. Maria first made landfall over the municipality of Yabucoa, impacting more than 37,000 residents; this area bore the strongest brunt of the storm, where hundreds of homes still need 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 floodwaters over 10 feet high.
After two and a half years in Puerto Rico, we have officially wrapped up operations. Our dedicated teams of staff and volunteers worked tirelessly on home build activities and ensured families were provided with water-proof, hurricane-resistant roofs to weather future storms; our senior technical advisor played a fundamental role in developing best practices in the field and enabled us to expand our scope of work to include repairing corrugated galvanized iron roofs, as well as creating Standard Operating Procedures for concrete roofing.
We also restored community centers, parks and baseball fields to bring back a sense of normalcy to the community.
Thank you to all the staff, volunteers and donors who have helped us support Puerto Rico on their road to recovery.
We have also restored community centers, parks and baseball fields to bring back a sense of normalcy to the community. The Mendez Baseball field was home to the Little League World Series (Caribbean Region)and it was sadly destroyed after Hurricane Maria. Thanks to our incredible staff, volunteers and donors the beloved Mendez baseball field has been repaired and restored.
More than two thousand earthquakes hit southern Puerto Rico between late December, 2019 and early January, 2020. 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. Additionally, aftershocks continued for days after a 5.9 earthquake occurred on January 11th.
Program Work: Community Support
Given the number of NGOs that were assisting with the response, our team made the decision not to open a new program. Instead, we developed a satellite project, partnering with World Central Kitchen to provide food to affected communities. Groups of All Hands and Hearts volunteers worked alongside World Central Kitchen, as they served more than 10,000 meals per day to impacted community members. Additionally, we supported Brigada de Todxs in constructing sleeping cots for those currently living in community camps.