PROTECT Responds to the 2020 Puerto Rico Earthquakes

L>R: Hector Torres, Nancy Cardona, Aid Recipient, Camen Velez-Vega

Since December 28th of last year the island of Puerto Rico has been rattled by a series of hundreds of earthquakes, the most powerful of which occurred on January 7th in the Southwest Region where shock waves from a 6.4-magnitude earthquake were felt across the island. The massive earthquake in January caused over $3.1 billion in widespread damage to infrastructure on an island still vulnerable and in recovery from the effects of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Thousands of people had to evacuate their homes due to fear of collapse, leaving many homeless, without access to clean drinking water or electricity, and flocking to shelters and makeshift refugee camps.

L>R: Nancy Cardona, Aid Recipient, Carmen Velex-Vega

The PROTECT Center swiftly mobilized to address this crisis. In less than a week after the massive earthquake in early January, the Community Engagement Team was able to assist several communities by rallying support from many collaborators within their network, namely those from Northeastern University and University of Georgia. Additionally, call to action emails were sent to the SRP team and throughout our social media networks. Due to the fundraising efforts of the PROTECT Team, the Community Engagement Core was able to provide water filters for clean drinking water and other materials such as cots, tents, insect repellent and mosquito nets. This activity continued on a weekly basis until the beginning of March.

Since January, there have been constant aftershocks that have continued to affect the southwest region of the island, the last of which were this weekend with a 4.8 and 5.3 magnitude earthquake, on Sunday, June 28th. Most of the aftershocks have been relatively minor, with some peaking to the 5 point magnitude range which are considered significant in their effects on human life[1]. The ongoing aftershocks have caused widespread infrastructural damage and deeply affected the mental health of people who have been ravaged by numerous disasters and crises for the last 5 years.

We thank the Community Engagement Team for their leadership and coordinating efforts in these multiple disaster relief responses and encourage folks to consider donating to efforts to help support the people of Puerto Rico in the wake of all of the compounding crises.

There are several groups still working to help remediate the effects from the 2020 Earthquakes, please consider donating to these organizations:

Global Giving – Various Projects to Support Puerto Rico in the wake of Earthquakes, Covid-19,  & Hurricane Maria

Hispanic Federation – Unidos Disaster Relief & Recover Program to Support Puerto Rico

World Central Kitchen – Make a note asking for your donation to go towards feeding families in Puerto Rico affected by Earthquakes & Covid-19

Americares – Make a note asking for your donation to go towards feeding families in Puerto Rico affected by Earthquakes & Covid-19

Review Voices for Puerto Rico to find more charities supporting ongoing recovery efforts in Puerto Rico

Use the Charity Navigator to do more research on how to support ongoing recover efforts in Puerto Rico


[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/01/us/puerto-rico-earthquakes-fema.html