Thursday, September 28, 2017

We get by with a little help from our friends ...

as the Beatles once reminded us.

How to help recovery from the Mexican earthquakes:
My good friend who teaches teaching at the Autonomous University of Mexico suggests this group which has a long history of working with poor families in the most harmed communities:
The information included in the graphic is how to make a bank wire transfer. You can learn more about the Grupo de Educación Popular con Mujeres here.

How to help recovery in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria:
My friend Norma has been trying to figure out how to do the most good for her island territory and writes this:

... as you have heard and seen in the news, a week after the catastrophic disaster that Hurricane Maria caused in my country and the Caribbean, about 97% of the island's 3.4 million residents are still without electricity today, more than half of the residents do not have running water and fuel, and food is being rationed in some parts of the country. With supplies running out and no water, people in isolated areas (the countryside) are starting to drink from mountain streams. Out of the island's 69 hospitals, only 11 are open and depending on generators fueled by diesel. Two people who were on life support died in the past days in a hospital in San Juan because the generator run out of diesel.

Residents are relying on generators to keep appliances, medical devices and refrigerators running. Soon they will run out of gasoline and diesel. The biggest problem is getting supplies from Point A to Point B as the country is still battling destroyed and flooded roads. Frustration and fear is mounting because aid is not getting to the residents and people are starting to get desperate. Looting is growing and people are violating the curfew. The situation now, according to the San Juan mayor, has reached humanitarian crisis proportions.

[President Trump has bowed to pressure and belatedly waived the Jones Act which was enabling shippers to extract gross profits from Puerto Rico's pain.]

For many of us here so far from our loved ones, this situation brings up a lot of anxiety and feelings of impotency and deep sadness. That is why I'm turning to you. Many of you are wondering what you can do.

I’ve looked into the places to donate money or supplies. The situation is still so chaotic that I don’t yet feel 100% sure about the options and with time, this all will become much clearer. But for now, I have three places to suggest if you want to donate funds. I think they are trustworthy, supported by some key people and organizations, and will get the funds there.

 I’ve also included a link to an organization that can coordinate volunteers. They are not ready for that yet but you can sign up and when they know how to best use volunteers, they can get back to you. ...

These are the organizations to donate:

Hurricane Maria Community Recovery Fund
This fund is managed by the Center for Popular Democracy which many of us know. They seem to be connecting with some of the most grassroots orgs in PR, some of whom we know and surely want to support.

UNICEF
During a time like this it may be that large NGOs like UNICEF are in the best position to deliver and distribute mass aid. This fund specifically supports children and families.

UNIDOS: Program of Hispanic Federation
This fund was started by Mayor Di Blasio and some of the Nuyorican electeds who we trust (and supported by Hamilton’s Lin Manuel). From my research the Hispanic Federation seems to have a good record of financial management and integrity.

The volunteer organization where you can sign up if you want to consider on site work is called Puerto Rico Voluntary Organizations in Disaster.
We don’t know much about them. As many of you might recall from Katrina days, it took a long time for all of this to settle -who was doing what, what level of infrastructure did orgs have to manage money, volunteers, who was supporting what areas and what kinds of people, who could be trusted. I’m sure we will see that work itself out.

Fortunately we have many good friends and activists on the ground in PR, who are in the center of all of this, and are keeping us updated and informed. ...

It is time (as always) to stand with friends around the world.

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