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How to help Hurricane Maria victims

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands. Here's how you can help those affected by the storm.
hurricane maria
People walk on the street next to debris after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. Photo: Reuters

This hurricane season has been particularly destructive, and Puerto Rico is the latest to get hit. Hurricane Maria, a category 5 storm, devastated the island on Wednesday after striking the Caribbean island nation of Dominica, where seven people were killed.

“This is total devastation,” Carlos Mercader, a spokesman for Puerto Rico’s Gov. Ricardo Rossello, told CNN. “Puerto Rico,in terms of the infrastructure, will not be the same. … This is something of historic proportions.”

The victim’s in Maria’s path aren’t the first to ask for aid this hurricane season, but they’re still in desperate need of help. As the Caribbean islands attempt to recover from yet another storm, here's what you can do to aid the disaster relief:

Puerto Rican nonprofit ConPRmetidos has set up a recovery fund that will “exclusively support the victims of the catastrophic Hurricane Maria and Irma in Puerto Rico,” helping with food, shelter, water and long-term recovery efforts.

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The office of Puerto Rico’s First Lady Beatriz Rosselló has created Unidos for Puerto Rico to help those on the island affected by both hurricanes. You can make a contribution online through PayPal, by directly using the bank’s account number.

The Dominica London High Commission, the diplomatic representative of the Caribbean island in the UK, has set up a Just Giving fundraiser to benefit Dominica. The fundraiser aims to raise £5,000,000 to provide basics like temporary roofing, blankets and non-perishable food to help those left with nothing.

GlobalGiving is a United States-based nonprofit that basically crowdfunds charity efforts across the world. You can donate here to a disaster recovery fund set up for all Caribbean victims of Hurricanes Maria and Irma. The money will go toward emergency supplies like food, water and medicine as well as long-term recovery assistance as residents recover and rebuild their islands.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization, which has headquarters in Barbados as well as New York and London, has set up a GoFundMe that will send money to the ministries of tourism affected by Maria in the organization’s Caribbean member states.

As families are displaced and schools destroyed, Save the Children is asking for donations specifically to affect children in areas devastated by Maria, as is UNICEF. UNICEF has employees on the ground across Caribbean countries, according to its website, and its disaster efforts ensure education efforts continue, that families have access to clean water, that there are “safe spaces for children,” and that humanitarian supplies are distributed.

You can donate to the Red Cross, which prepared another hurricane response effort in anticipation of Maria approaching Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Red Cross notes that the 2017 hurricane season “could become one of the most active Atlantic hurricane seasons on record,” taxing their volunteers and supply rations. The Red Cross has had workers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands since before hurricane Irma hit, and promises to resume service delivery once Maria clears and it’s safe to do so.

Animals are in need of aid, too, and the SPCA International is always taking donations to help rescue dogs, cats and more.

 
 
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