Essential Supplies and Emotional Support for the Children of Puerto Rico
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (October 6, 2017)— Millions of Americans in Puerto Rico, including nearly 700,000 children, continue to face the aftereffects of Hurricane Maria. More than two weeks after the hurricane hit the island, electricity, fuel, and clean water are still scarce.
This week, Save the Children sent additional staff and supplies to address the most urgent needs for children and their families. The organization’s staff arrived in the immediate aftermath of the storm and, working with partners and local officials, has already distributed essential supplies for toddlers and young children in seven shelters on the island, with additional distributions scheduled.
"We know from decades of experience that children are the most affected in the wake of emergencies and disasters, and often their needs fall through the cracks," said Casey Harrity, Save the Children’s team leader in Puerto Rico. "Nearly 60 percent of the children in Puerto Rico live below the poverty line, which makes them even more vulnerable. We are working as quickly as possible to help these children and their families recover and rebuild."
In addition to distributing supplies, Save the Children is helping support children’s physical and emotional wellbeing through its signature Child-Friendly Spaces—safe, well-supervised areas within shelters where children can play, socialize and begin to recover from the disaster, while allowing their parents to concentrate on addressing the family’s immediate and longer-term needs.
Students are still out of school, and fewer than half of Puerto Rico’s 1,100 public schools have been assessed for damage so far. Child-Friendly Spaces will help these students return to some sense of normalcy while they wait for schools to reopen. Save the Children is helping conduct damage assessments at childcare centers and schools, as well as training experienced social workers from the island to lead Child-Friendly Spaces in locations across Puerto Rico.
Save the Children is working with partners and supporters to acquire and distribute critical items to families in shelters and communities, including water, building materials, infant and toddler supplies, mosquito nets, and family hygiene items including soap, toothbrushes and towels.
To learn more and to support Save the Children’s Hurricane Maria response, please visit: www.SavetheChildren.org/Maria.
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. Learn more at www.SavetheChildren.org.
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