A mother hugs her daughter tightly as they cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Photo credit: Rebecca Zilenziger/Save the Children, September 2017.

A mother hugs her daughter tightly as they cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Help Hurricane Maria Survivors

In September of 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, pummeling the U.S. territory with catastrophic levels of rain and winds up to 155 miles per hour. It was the largest disaster in Puerto Rico since 1928 – power was knocked out for the entire island.

Save the Children was on the island within 96 hours. We distributed clean water, family hygiene supplies, shelter/home repair kits and solar light kits. Today, we’re still there, providing an ongoing, robust response that has benefitted more than 60,000 children and adults to date. We provide emotional support to children dealing with stress and uncertainty. Plus, our education team is working with local partners to restore programs and help ensure that children have access to learning.

Due to the scale of the destruction, Save the Children has formed a long-term response strategy. We have identified 40 communities where the needs are greatest – mostly those directly in the track of the hurricane – and we’re committed to helping more than 200,000 children and adults who live there through September of 2019.

The Ongoing Need for Puerto Rico

Thousands of residents continue to live without electricity, water and sanitation. Recovery progress overall has been slow; the level of destruction is massive and families are struggling under the hardship and loss that the storm has caused. That’s why we’re committed to a 2-year strategy that includes:

Child protection: helping children, parents and teachers build resiliency skills while supporting them to process their feelings, fears and sense of loss. We’re organizing safe places for children to gather, play and just be kids again.

Return to learning: Many schools were damaged and closed for long periods of time, some can now only be open for part of the day. Our goal is to provide children ages 0-18 access to education, so they can continue to grow and learn.

Nutritional support: Young children, particularly infants and toddlers, are highly vulnerable in emergencies. We’re working to promote safe feeding practices, through education sessions and breastfeeding kits, which include essential hygiene items and other supplies.

This important, lifesaving work requires additional funding. Every investment in our two-year strategy is an investment in the lives, well-being and future of children.


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