Spanish-language network and the Hispanic Federation distributed 18,000 solar panel lamps to families in 14 municipalities in Puerto Rico still struggling with power outages.
The towns represented were: Barranquitas, Bayamón, Comerio, Dorado, Las Marias, Loíza, Morovis, San Lorenzo, San Sebastian, Ponce, Utuado, Villalba, Vega Alta, Vega Baja.
“Since Hurricane María struck last year, Puerto Rico has struggled with blackouts. And if the start of this year’s hurricane season is any indication of what to expect, the people on the island are going to need a backup plan if there is an emergency such as more power outages,” said Michael D. Nieves, president of HITN who has also engaged in a variety of other hurricane relief efforts such as purchasing and installing water filters in schools, daycare centers, and cancer treatment centers located in Vieques.
“Addressing this issue is one of the critical steps in Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts and using solar-powered lamps as an alternative source of light is a smart and simple solution,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hispanic Federation President José Calderón, said the entity he represents “has invested $27 million through more than 70 community organizations across the island that have stepped up to lead the charge and build a more resilient and sustainable Puerto Rico.”
“Together with our local partners, we have been distributing solar lamps to vulnerable communities and we are grateful to be working with HITN to reach thousands of more families today,” he said.
After Hurricane María, Hispanic Federation was among the first organizations to provide emergency assistance including the distribution of more than 7 million pounds of food, water, and other critical supplies in all 78 municipalities.
HITN distributed the 18,000 lamps by coordinating with representatives from each of the 14 towns that picked up 1,500 lamps at the studios of WIPR, Puerto Rico’s public broadcasting corporation.