Puerto Rico Is Reeling From Devastating Earthquakes: How You Can Help

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A woman sits on a sofa in a camp set up at a baseball field in Guanica, Puerto Rico, on Saturday after a powerful earthquake hit the island. 

Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images


The new year is off to a grim start in Puerto Rico. A series of recent earthquakes there, [ including a 6.4 quake on Jan. 7] that's being called the strongest to shake the island in a century, has killed one person and left thousands homeless and without power and water. CBS News [ reports that] more than 2,000 tremors have occurred since Dec. 28.
The current situationDavid Begnaud, lead national correspondent for CBS This Morning, has been [ reporting from the quake-stricken island]. (Editors' note: CBS and CNET are owned by ViacomCBS.) On Monday, he reported from the top of a mountain in hard-hit Guanica, speaking to people who feel unsafe returning to their homes and thus are sleeping outside as aftershocks continue. One family of 11 had no power or water and has been sleeping in their yard for nearly a week.


This was our report for [ @CBSThisMorning] from the top of a mountain in Guánica, Puerto Rico where nearly 100 people have slept for the past week. Many of these people have homes that are damaged. Others have no damage but feel more comfortable here because aftershocks continue. [ pic.twitter.com/CGW11X9Ojs]
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) [ January 13, 2020]














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How to helpThe nonprofit humanitarian organization Direct Relief is working to get medical care, mental health services and medicine such as insulin to Puerto Ricans. The Jan. 7 earthquake damaged three major hospitals, the group [ says on its site]. The group has provided more than 500 evacuees with medical care, medication, mosquito nets, solar chargers and flashlights. Direct Relief has a [ donation page] that asks donors whether to direct their contributions to the Puerto Rico effort or other crises such as the [/news/australian-fires-everything-we-know-about-the-crisis-and-how-you-can-help/ Australian bushfires], or simply use it where it's most needed.

🇵🇷 [ #PuertoRicoEarthquake]: With support from organizations like [ @vocespuertorico], [ @DirectRelief] is organizing teams of doctors, nurses, and mental health counselors to offer medical and mental health services to residents and those staying in shelters. [ ][ January 7, 2020]














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More than 500 evacuees received medical care, medication, mosquito nets, solar chargers & flashlights, but much more is needed. [ #PuertoRicoEarthquake] [ #PuertoRicoStrong] [ pic.twitter.com/6nOzhUvJAd]
— Direct Relief (@DirectRelief) [ January 11, 2020]














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Families long to return to their homes, but many buildings have been destroyed by the quakes. Puerto Rican community-education program [ Nuestra Escuela]has set up a [ Global Giving fundraiser] to help families eventually reconstruct their homes. "The possibility of returning a home to at least one family is, in the long term, the possibility of sowing hope, and building resilience in the affected communities," the group's fundraising site says.The nonprofit [ Hispanic Federation] has [ partnered with the University of Puerto Rico] to offer mental health services to those affected by the earthquakes. The group will offer assessments, therapy and support, and plans to provide services at the university's three campuses, nine community organizations, and even in the homes of those who cannot reach the other locations. The group is also providing solar lamps and emergency funds for http://mediawiki.hslsoft.com/index.php?title=Danny_Greaves:_Beatles_Bond_And_My_Dad_Helped_Make_Great_Britain_Cool local health and human services providers. [ Donations can be designated] either for mental health services or for general relief and recovery.The [ American Red Cross reported Monday] that about 170 of its disaster workers are in Puerto Rico, supporting government shelters, helping to care for the elderly and children, and going door to door checking on residents and delivering information and emergency supplies. Donations can be made at [ redcross.org], by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, its site reports. The [ group's donation page] does not specify Puerto Rican aid specifically, though donors can indicate they want their money to go toward disaster relief.International Medical Corps, a global, nonprofit humanitarian aid organization, works to deliver emergency health care and services and to train people in affected communities. The group [ has responded to hard-hit areas] in the southern part of the island— including Las Arenas, La Esperanza and Sabana Grande — to provide relief supplies, food, water, and psychological aid to those who've been displaced from their homes. The group has a [ dedicated page for Puerto Rico donations].The nonprofit disaster relief and global health organization Americares has sent an emergency response team, including psychologists, a social worker and a counselor, to hard-hit Guanica. Americares' site says the group is also prepared to deliver medicine and relief supplies and support health services for survivors. The group has a [ donation page] to help provide medicine and aid to Puerto Rico.Acclaimed Spanish-American chef José Andrés is the founder of the nonprofit [ World Central Kitchen], which responds to natural and human-made disasters worldwide, seeking to feed the hungry. The group has set up kitchens and food trucks in some of the hardest-hit areas and is [ accepting donations].

After being shaken awake this morning, WCK's [ #ChefsForPuertoRico] team activated and is cooking for those affected by the major earthquakes! Lunch is going out the door now, kitchens are being activated in Yauco & Ponce, and our food trucks are on the way. More updates soon! 🇵🇷 💪 [ pic.twitter.com/21Hvgfnwdd]
— World Central Kitchen (@WCKitchen) [ January 7, 2020]














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Presidential plea
As of Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump had yet to [ sign a major disaster declaration] to release aid, CBS News reported. But Alex Amparo, the top official for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Puerto Rico, said the agency isn't waiting.


Here's today's update that I got from the man overseeing FEMAs emergency response in Puerto Rico. He said he's not waiting to see if President Trump signs the Governors major disaster declaration request, he's maximizing, now, what can be done legally. Here's [ @alexamparo]: [ pic.twitter.com/C1xh1qY2WA]
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) [ January 13, 2020]














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"We've got our teams out in the field," he told Begnaud. "The tremendous amount of mutual aid that's happening from the island, I'm sure you saw on your way here."

A FEMA representative told Begnaud over the phone on Monday that Trump's decision to sign the declaration was "still under consideration."


I just called [ @FEMA] in Washington DC to find out if there was a status update on whether or not President Trump will sign the major disaster declaration request for Puerto Rico, due to ongoing, damaging earthquakes.

I was told: "it's still under consideration:"
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) [ January 13, 2020]














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On Jan. 7, the president [ approved an initial emergency declaration], but that has a $5 million cap, whereas Puerto Rico needs much more. "Puerto Rico's governor estimates the earthquake damage is $110 million," Begnaud said in a tweet.


Turns out, the emergency declaration that [ @POTUS] signed for Puerto Rico (same ED that would be signed for any requesting state) has a 5 million dollar cap.
That's why a major disaster declaration is crucial. Puerto Rico's Governor estimates the earthquake damage is 110 million. [ pic.twitter.com/tc5AeCK47A]
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) [ January 13, 2020]














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On Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nydia Velázquez sent a letter to the president urging him to act. Velázquez is the first Puerto Rican-born woman to serve in Congress, and Ocasio-Cortez also has Puerto Rican roots.

"The people of Puerto Rico have been battered by hurricanes and earthquakes," Sanders, who's also a presidential candidate, said in a tweet that included the letter. "They need humanitarian assistance now."


The people of Puerto Rico have been battered by hurricanes and earthquakes. They need humanitarian assistance now.
[ @NydiaVelazquez], [ @AOC] and I say to Trump: Do your job and release the $18 billion in disaster funding that Congress already approved. [ pic.twitter.com/7UFWKcY3Ih]
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) [ January 13, 2020]














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Neighbors helping neighbors
Puerto Ricans are still recovering from [ 2017's deadly Hurricane Maria], but residents are reaching out to help each other through yet another natural disaster.

"I have goosebumps watching people from various municipalities, driving in caravans down the highway that we're all taking to get to the southern part of the island, right now," Begnaud wrote on Saturday. "Neighbors helping neighbors is in full force here in Puerto Rico."


I have goosebumps watching people from various municipalities, driving in caravans down the highway that we're all taking to get to the southern part of the island, right now. Neighbors helping neighbors is in full force here in Puerto Rico. [ #earthquake] [ pic.twitter.com/vpMurOHlNm]
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) [ January 11, 2020]














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My dad works for the Department of Transportation and Public Works in Manati and they've gone twice to Peñuelas to help them with debris and bringing supplies over there.
— 𝕹𝖎𝖍𝖎𝖑 (@LadyOfAngmar) [ January 11, 2020]














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Where one eats, ten can be fed.
Donde come uno comen diez.
That's what my Mom used to tell us🇵🇷
— CatilanguaLantemue🆘 (@pintado_espi) [ January 11, 2020]














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In the entertainment world
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who regularly spent a month with his grandparents in Puerto Rico during his childhood and who has worked with numerous charities in the US territory, has asked followers for their donations and prayers.

"There are a lot of places in the world that need your attention and prayers," Miranda said in a tweet on Jan. 7. "Please spare some for Puerto Rico today.'


We were in Puerto Rico when the earthquakes began last week.
Woke up in New York to texts from family all over the island this morning.
There are a lot of places in the world that need your attention and prayers.
Please spare some for Puerto Rico today. Thank you.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) [ January 7, 2020]














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And if you can spare more, please see below. [ ][ January 7, 2020]














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Or here: [ ][ January 7, 2020]














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Though it pales in comparison to other earthquake-related news, [ Deadline reported on Monday] that the Disney Plus series [/news/the-falcon-and-the-winter-soldier-plot-cast-where-to-watch-release-date-and-more/ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier] has suspended its planned two-week Puerto Rico shoot due to the earthquakes.



























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