MAINTAINING RESILIENCE IN PUERTO RICO AFTER HURRICANE MARIA & EARTHQUAKES
Three years after Hurricane Maria, Episcopal Relief & Development continues to partner with the Episcopal Diocese of Puerto Rico’s Programa REDES to support its supply distribution efforts, restore uninsured homes, provide emotional care for caregivers and ongoing help with volunteer management and resiliency building. As part of its resiliency building initiatives, the program has formed micro-savings groups in order to build financial resilience in isolated, under-resourced areas. The program’s systems have been especially useful, and scalable, during the series of earthquakes and aftershocks that occurred in late 2019 and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the recent series of earthquakes and aftershocks, Programa REDES set up five volunteer-led support centers that offer medical, mental wellness and pastoral services. The team consistently displays unity and high spirits in the midst of all the destruction around them. The Rev. Ana Mendez, the director of the program, tells her team constantly, ‘hashtag seguimos,’ which means we keep going. They’ve done an exceptional job of assessing needs and responding with supplies to address them.