Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands (US Territories) – This is still a government-controlled situation. They are in emergency relief phase and it is still NOT appropriate for volunteers to deploy. According to the Bishop of the Puerto Rican Methodist Church, who is directing relief efforts and is working with UMCOR, communication is available 5-6 times per day (this is the biggest challenge), power is on intermittently to hospitals and shopping centers, 250,000 homes of which 100,000 were demolished (as reported to Methodist authorities), 5 churches are offering one hot meal a day to their communities, 5 distributions sites have been set up across the island with most help coming from faith-based groups like UMCOR. Rural churches are picking up supplies at these centers and transporting them to even more rural locations.
A container is on its way via a private shipper with:
- 7,000 cleaning bucket kits 2,000 powering devices,
- 32,000 hygiene kits, a container (very large) of water
- 26,000 solar-powered lights
It is frustrating that shipments aren’t happening faster due to the reinstatement of the Jones Act.
Prayers are asked for the 100 Puerto Rican churches especially the 25 which suffered severe damage. The Puerto Rican Methodists are still praising God for their churches so include them in your prayers also.
US Virgin Islands.
In St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, there is no electricity, and communication is almost non-existent, so response is slow. Airports and the post office have just re-opened. Specific needs are not yet known and there are reports of requests for school kits, so there are signs of hope.