Yesterday marked six months after Hurricane Maria and we woke up in the morning on Vieques in yet another blackout. According to Puerto Rico’s Power Authority, 103,000 people still don’t have electricity — and even those who do cannot rely on it. The next Atlantic hurricane season starts in just three months and we have barely started to recover from Hurricane Maria.
Sail Relief Team arrived to Vieques in early January with the goals of providing aid in the form of response, recovery, and resilience.
Our approach has been two-fold:
1. Help people who aren’t able to help themselves; and
2. Support the community to be ultimately more resilient.
We have been collaborating with other local organizations to do this work. Our major accomplishments to date are:
- Transportation and delivery of 4,000 pounds of supplies upon arrival
- Removing debris & doing clean-ups in over 30 homes
- Helping to conduct a training for 22 future solar energy installers in Utuado.
- Opening the bid process to transition Vieques and Culebra to 100% renewable energy
- Supporting the installation of Wi-Fi nodes at schools across the island
- Installation of a solar power system at the Sun Bay beach Balneario
- Cleanups at key tourist attractions including Esperanza and Sun Bay Beaches and the nature trail on Cayo de Tierra.
This work we have accomplished is big but we want to go bigger. We need your help. Please make a donation or help us connect with resources. The situation here on Vieques is urgent and we are focusing all our time on the ground, and spending money out of our pockets. We invite you to join us in solidarity to support our efforts.
Among the projects we are currently working on are:
- Adding an extension to and installing a solar power system on the cancer support center so cancer treatments can be provided reliably on the island
- Coordinating the building of a dialysis clinic and installing a solar power system.
- Providing and installing a radio communications repeater for first responders and emergency services during routine and emergency operations.
- Installing solar-power systems on Wi-Fi nodes in every school to provide reliable internet access even when the power grid fails.
- Providing logistical support for ongoing medical missions.
- Helping individual community members to recover from the hurricane.
Thank you so much for your support. Together we can give the people of Vieques hope and help them to be better prepared against another disaster.