Tzu Chi USA to join FEMA to provide disaster relief to P.R. hurricane survivors
As the one-year anniversary of Hurricane María approaches, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation will join the San Juan FEMA Disaster Recovery Center on Sept.13-15th to provide disaster relief aid to Puerto Rican communities, representatives said.
“[Non-governmental organizations] doing relief work in Puerto Rico has been a blessing to our Island. Tzu Chi completes the things that matter the most to a society in need. Tzu Chi’s like a compliment,” said Mitzy Rivera-Santiago, FEMA, voluntary agency liaison crew lead
Hurricane María made landfall on Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017, causing widespread destruction across the island.
During its visit, Tzu Chi USA will distribute 3,000 portable solar-powered LED light bulbs to the residents of San Juan, Bayamón, Comerío, Orocovis, and Jayuya.
These bulbs use about 25 percent to 85 percent less energy than traditional incandescents, and last 3-25 times longer. This gives the Puerto Rican residents an immediate and long-term, cost-saving solution for electrical necessities.
“Our long-term goal is to empower the people of Puerto Rico on how to be more environmentally conscious. These portable solar power LED light bulbs are just the beginning,” said Yuanliang Ling, CEO of Tzu Chi USA, Central Region
Additional financial aid will also be distributed to help families buy everyday essentials and do necessary house repairs. These cash cards will be stipend on a case by case basis after an assessment of damages, foundation officials said.
In 2017, Tzu Chi USA distributed more than $9 million in assistance, benefiting those impacted by 68 U.S. disasters.