The Ford Foundation will provide US$1.5 million in emergency funding to Puerto Rico’s relief and recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Fiona, which has caused extended blackouts and infrastructure damages across the entire island.
The new funding brings the organization’s total commitment to the long-term recovery of Puerto Rico to more than US$22 million since 2017, when Hurricane Maria, one of the worst natural disasters in history, devastated the island.
The emergency funding will be deployed to the four areas of greatest need in Puerto Rico: power, water, shelter, and infrastructure, according to the Foundation.
More than 10 days after Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico, more than half of the residents are still left without electricity or clean water. The magnitude of the damage is directly linked to the slow and ineffective response to previous disasters, the foundation said.
“We have seen in previous natural disasters that underlying structural inequalities have a direct impact on relief and recovery efforts, and the stark inequities become even more exacerbated without intentional and meaningful intervention,”
program director for Future of Work(ers) at the Ford Foundation, said in a statement.
The US$1.5 million emergency fund will be channeled through local partners, the foundation said. These include Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico, a nonprofit that provides free and accessible legal education and support to individuals and communities; League of Puerto Rican Cities (La Liga), a non-partisan organization aiming to improve the quality of life of the Puerto Rican people; and Filantropía Puerto Rico, which connects philanthropic entities with their interests.
It’s too early to tell whether other foundations will follow suit. The Hispanic Federation—which has contributed US$50 million,with support from actor and playwright
and his family,to the long-term recovery of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria—did not respond to a request for comment.
The American Red Cross has sent more than 280 trained volunteers to the island to help assess the damage, the organization said. It has so far provided more than 2,600 households with relief items, meals, and health and mental health services.
Last Thursday, President
announced that he was authorizing 100% federal funding for debris removal, search and rescue, and power restoration in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Fiona.
Smashing portions of the Caribbean and Eastern Canada, Hurricane Fiona has up to date caused 27 deaths and an estimated property damage of US$400 million.