The seismic emergency Puerto Rico recently experienced should put the island on alert on the need to ensure food security for the entire population, Denise Santos, president of the Food Bank of Puerto Rico said.
The Bank has distributed 150,000 pounds of food to earthquakes victims in the southwest in addition to the 13.4 million pounds of food distributed throughout Puerto Rico last year.
The situation in the island’s southwest region due to seismic activity since Dec. 28 has put into perspective the undeniable food insecurity of a considerable sector of the population, she said.
“The number of citizens experiencing food insecurity after the earthquakes adds up to a third of the population that goes hungry and half that lives below the poverty level. It’s a reality that we don’t easily accept in Puerto Rico, but to overcome it we have to take consistent steps, and not only react when we’re in the middle of emergencies,” said Santos.
“We have to tackle this scenario, understanding that the situation we are experiencing in the third jurisdiction with the greatest economic inequality in the world and the first in Latin America. 52.3% of the population on the island lives below the poverty level and 33.2% meet the definition of food insecurity, according to the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics,” Santos said.
During the seismic emergency, the Food Bank distributes food in the formal and informal shelters established after the Jan. 7 earthquake. The collection center has been established at its new headquarters in Carolina.
The nonprofit has received support from a significant representation from the private sector, namely the MCS Foundation, First Bank, Cardinal Health, Kimberly Clark, Subway, Procter & Gamble, Encantos Café, Crowley, Banco Popular, Wapa TV, V. Suarez & Co, SANOFI, Starwise Communication, Walgreens, Mondelez, Tactical, Synchrony Puerto Rico, Oracle, MCM Law firm.