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American Red Cross Puerto Rico launches long-term earthquake recovery program

The American Red Cross Puerto Rico Chapter, along with Esperanza para la Vejez, Sage Puerto Rico, Cooperativa de Farmacias Puertorriqueñas (COOPharma) and the Coordinadora Paz para la Mujer is kicking off its long-term recovery program for the southwest municipalities that were affected by the earthquakes last year.

Esperanza para la Vejez and Coopharma will deliver vouchers of $125 to the communities to buy medicine, assistive equipment and items related to the pandemic, such as masks and hand sanitizer, the American Red Cross confirmed in a press release.

Also, caregivers of elderly homes and people from the LGBTQI+ community will be trained on preparation courses and psychological first aid to manage symptoms of emotional impact and post-traumatic stress caused by January 2020 earthquakes, to be run by government agencies and nonprofit organization Sage Puerto Rico.

“On repeated occasions we have seen how older adults and women who are victims of gender violence are the ones most affected by disasters. With this initiative we seek to reach the most vulnerable people, to empower them with education, materials and skills from the perspective of mental health and thus they can face any type of disaster,” said Lee Vanessa Feliciano, regional executive of the American Red Cross Puerto Rico Chapter.

The organization Coordinadora Paz para la Mujer will educate disaster responders on the Protocol for the Identification and Care of Survivors of Gender Based Violence in Disaster Situations and will also educate survivors on preparedness subjects.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross will be providing educational brochures on specific disaster preparedness guides for older adults with the purpose of educating and assisting these populations in the areas of mental health and disaster.

“Esperanza Para la Vejez is pleased to be part of this initiative of the American Red Cross Chapter of Puerto Rico, which recognizing the fragility of the elderly affected by the earthquakes, comes to their aid with different programs not only of direct aid but also with education that empowers them to face any type of disaster, ”said Zoraida Vega, executive director of Esperanza Para la Vejez.

The Red Cross said the collaborative efforts of the organizations will benefit thousands of older adults, members of the LGBTQI+ community who are 65 years and older, and women survivors of gender violence.

The 10 municipalities that are included the long-term recovery program due to the southwest earthquakes are: Guayanilla; Yauco; Guánica; Ponce; Utuado; Peñuelas; Lajas; Cabo Rojo; Mayagüez; and Lares.

“The assistance provided by the American Red Cross Chapter of Puerto Rico to families suffering disasters is free. This long-term recovery program is made possible by donations the American Red Cross received to help families affected by the 2020 southwest earthquakes,” the American Red Cross organization said.

To learn about services provided by the Red Cross in Puerto Rico, visit their website or search social networks under “Puerto Rico Red Cross.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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