During the weekend our team, together with community leaders from Luquillo, Las Piedras, and Naguabo, as well as representatives from MMM, Hispanic Federation, Fideicomiso de Salud Pública, Re+Connect, and Brik’s Travel Guides visited the southwestern communities of La Ciénaga in Yauco and Maguayo in Lajas, providing support and supplies.
Both communities share the struggles of recovering not only from the aftermath of Fiona, but also the earthquakes of 2020. The community of La Ciénaga has been living in a temporary camp for almost three years, in small houses made up of wood and zinc after the 2020 earthquakes, and a week ago they had to face Hurricane Fiona, which flooded their original homes and part of the community. As our team brought them supplies, they welcomed us with much love and hope, expressing “We needed supplies and water, but even more we needed a hug”.
The Maguayo community in Lajas was also impacted by the direct effects of the 2020 earthquakes, with many homes suffering from structural damage and others collapsing. Hurricane Fiona brought a new challenge to the community, after the Laguna Cartagena overflowed and flooded much of the area. Homes that had never been affected by flooding, not even during hurricanes Georges and Maria, now faced several feet of water resulting in the loss of almost all their furniture and belongings.
Also, earlier in the week, part of our team visited the Educational, Cultural and Business Community Center of Villa Cañona I and II in Loíza, providing supplies for their community kitchen, which distributes daily breakfast and lunch to more than 100 people, mostly elderly. In Barrio Cubuy in Naguabo, some of our team members visited the community to provide supplies. One of their community leaders Jimmy Piña, welcomed our team and shared with them some of the rescue missions that they as residents of the community had to carry out in the middle of the hurricane, including saving a family from a landslide.
What we saw in these communities replicates in almost every municipality of our archipelago. The need and struggle of our communities is real and hard to witness. However, with your help, we will continue to provide aid to communities in need.