POLITICS
09/24/2017 03:30 pm ET Updated Oct 04, 2017

Here's How You Can Help People In Puerto Rico

3.4 million Americans are enduring "apocalyptic" conditions right now because of Hurricane Maria.

Bloomberg via Getty Images
A resident sits inside a shelter in Isabela, Puerto Rico, after being evacuated from her home in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

WASHINGTON ― At least 34 people are dead. Most people don’t have access to water, food, power or medicine. There’s next to no cell service. Roads have been totally washed away or blocked by debris. This is life right now in Puerto Rico, where 3.4 million Americans are struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

Local officials have described the scene as “apocalyptic.” The mayor of San Juan has been literally begging people to speed up help to “save us from dying.” And just two weeks before Maria hit, Hurricane Irma blew through and caused as much as $1 billion in damages to the island.

A lot of mainland Americans don’t realize that Puerto Ricans are Americans. FEMA and the U.S. Coast Guard have been providing some resources to the island, but Puerto Ricans and military leaders on the ground say the Trump administration’s efforts are falling short. If you want to lend a hand to a fellow American in need, there are easy ways to kick in a few bucks.

Global Giving 

This massive crowdfunding community connects nonprofits and donors for providing emergency supplies like food, water and medicine to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. All donations to this fund exclusively support hurricane relief and recovery efforts in the Caribbean. You can donate here.

UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund is providing immediate support to children affected by Hurricane Maria. Ninety percent of every dollar spent goes directly to helping kids. You can donate to UNICEF USA here.

United for Puerto Rico 

The first lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló, has teamed up with corporate giants like Coca-Cola, Walmart and Burger King to help provide aid to hurricane victims. You can donate to this campaign here.

The American Red Cross 

The Red Cross is providing aid to both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The money they raise goes toward delivering relief supplies like water, rice, beans, insect repellant and trash bags. They are also shipping in satellite phones. You can donate to them here.

Unidos: A Relief Fund for Hurricane Maria Victims in Puerto Rico 

The Hispanic Federation, along with a handful of New York lawmakers, set up this fund. One hundred percent of proceeds will go to hurricane relief and recovery efforts. You can donate to them here.

GoFundMe

GoFundMe created a centralized landing page to host all of its campaigns created to provide relief to Hurricane Maria victims. The hub is being updated in real-time. You can donate here.

What else can you do?

The Puerto Rican government issued a guide that lists the emergency supplies it needs the most. They include things like bottled water, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, first-aid kits and towels. It also needs construction supplies like extension cords, crowbars and safety glasses. National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, or VOAD, is coordinating donations here.

Once roads are more cleared and the situation is a bit more stable, Puerto Rico will need volunteer help. VOAD can help match you with organizations that already have efforts underway.

This story has been updated to reflect that the death toll has risen to 34.

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