Puerto Rico's Lack of Power and Clean Water Puts Hundreds of Thousands of Children at Risk

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (September 25, 2017)— Five days after Hurricane Maria caused widespread devastation in Puerto Rico, millions of Americans, including nearly 700,000 children, remain stranded without power, clean water, or fuel. Save the Children’s team is in San Juan, working with partners and local officials to address the most urgent needs for children and their families.

"The situation here in Puerto Rico is dire—nearly the entire island is still without power and clean water, and in these scorching temperatures, children and families desperately need our help," said Casey Harrity, Save the Children’s team leader in Puerto Rico. "Families are also stuck without fuel or phone access to be able to contact anyone, and some neighborhoods are still under water and families continue to be rescued by kayak."

Save the Children's emergency response team arrived in San Juan on Sunday morning and has begun arranging the distribution of much-needed materials for displaced children and their families such as water purification systems, tarps, diapers, wipes, soap and infant wash basins as well as materials to create safe, supervised spaces for children in emergency shelters.

"This is a major disaster and recovery will take months, if not years," Harrity continued. "Families in Puerto Rico need more help, and they need it urgently. We are evaluating the immediate needs for families in shelters, and those who are still stranded." More than 15,000 people are now in shelters around the island, as many have lost their homes. Save the Children is working on helping children and families in the shelters and eventually when they return home.

Children are the most affected in the wake of emergencies and disasters, and often their needs fall through the cracks. "The immediate priority is to make sure children are safe, that they are with family members or friends and have access to food, water and shelter, including safe, supervised places for children to play," said Carolyn Miles, Save the Children’s President & CEO. "The next priority is to get children back into school. Returning to their regular routine of going to school each day can have a tremendous, positive impact on children as they recover from this catastrophe."

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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