Keeping the Lights On in Puerto Rico
Shining Bright in Yabucoa
It’s been eight months since Hurricane Maria changed life in Puerto Rico forever. Awareness and support for recovery efforts have begun to dwindle. And in hard-hit towns like Yabucoa, a community of around 30,000 people, which was among the hardest hit communities, normalcy is taking longer than hoped to achieve.
As the entry point to the hurricane, Yabucoa became ground-zero to the impact of the sustained winds, water damage, and more than three subsequent tornadoes that spawned after Hurricane Maria. To date, the majority of the community remains with little consistent power, services that continue to be hampered by the environmental conditions caused by the hurricane (downed power lines, blocked roads, damaged infrastructure, etc.), and morale is down.
In our ongoing efforts to support Puerto Rico’s recovery, the OHorizons team has begun distributing equipment in and around the town of Yabucoa.
So far we have been able to help over 200 families (1,000+ individuals) in Yabucoa, distributing over 375 solar powered lighting and phone charging systems, each capable of providing light and power for up to 15 hours per day. We also delivered a solar powered refrigeration unit to a woman’s shelter in the Caguas region which has been without consistent refrigeration for over 6 months, allowing them to safely store perishable food and medicines, impacting dozens of individuals
Throughout our distribution we worked in collaboration with Mayor Rafael Surillo’s staff, taking their lead to distribute in the neighborhoods they identified as having the most need and being the hardest to reach.
During our April trip to Puerto Rico, we also re-visited the community of Rio Grande, where we had previously provided support and made great connections. We distributed an additional half dozen solar home systems which impacted 8 different families.