Puerto Rico: The Long Road Ahead
Today’s post is written by Mike Sohm, president of CAMA. This post was originally published on The Alliance website.
Puerto Rico remains in emergency response mode nearly two months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
After responding immediately with cash for food vouchers, we now have a better idea what the next three to six months will look like and the role we will play. The news is not good as was pointed out so clearly in a recent CBS 60 Minutes piece on the damage done by Hurricane Maria to Puerto Rico. It is painfully clear that parts of the island will remain in an emergency response mode for many more months.
The recovery stage will not begin until sometime in 2018. Many people on the island still lack electrical power. At this time, PREPA (the PR Electric Power Authority) is reported to be operating at 30–40 percent power, yet it’s not that reliable due to the fragility of the entire system. Most hospitals, supermarkets, businesses, and individuals are relying on generators for their power, with all its implications.
In many parts of the island, the greatest needs are still for food, clean drinking water, generators, and fuel. CAMA partnered with the Spanish Eastern District of the C&MA to ship two large containers with many needed items, including 25 generators. We are also sending more funds to be used for purchasing food vouchers through local grocery stores.
Many have asked about sending a work team to help with the cleanup and recovery. Rev. Javier Gómez, superintendent of the C&MA Puerto Rico District, has asked that no work teams be sent at this time. The island remains in an emergency response mode, so the district cannot host teams and provide for their basic needs. Once recovery has begun, teams can be very useful. The district will re-evaluate in the spring with the idea of having teams come in the summer of 2018.
Some U.S. mainland churches have requested to adopt a church in Puerto Rico. We have sent their information to the district, which will connect these churches with Puerto Rican churches they can pray for and support during this time.
Pray for CAMA as we support the pastors and churches in Puerto Rico over the many months that will be required for them to recover from the most devastating hurricane ever to hit the island. Thank you for your understanding and prayerful support.
Continue to support these efforts by giving to Puerto Rico Relief & Recovery.