The Category 5 storm Hurricane Irma hit the Atlantic basin the week of September 5, 2017, maintaining maximum intensity for 37 hours and leaving 1 million people in Puerto Rico without power.
Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Maria followed. Both storms were catastrophic to the island, home to 3.4 million U.S. citizens—leveling homes, destroying health facilities and damaging critical infrastructure. It took nearly a year to restore electric power to all the homes and businesses following the storms, which took out 80% of all power lines and flooded most of the island’s generators.
International Medical Corps arrived in Puerto Rico within days of Hurricane Maria and today continues recovery work in collaboration with La Asociación de Salud Primaria de Puerto Rico (ASPPR), a network of 76 health clinics focused on providing care to low-income families across the island. We are currently working on a long-term project to strengthen the island’s emergency response system. In December 2017, we expanded our efforts to help Puerto Ricans access healthcare through mobile medical units, which are providing home visits for patients in hard-hit communities who are unable to travel to health facilities for treatment.
As immediate relief efforts have shifted to recovery, International Medical Corps continues to provide power, clean water, communications and cash grants to 26 health facilities and local clinics, which have reached more than 63,000 people.