The San Juan Daily Star
8,000 families receive over $1 million in storm aid
By The Star Staff
More than 8,000 families have benefited from aid in the amount of $1,023,859 provided by the Office of Socioeconomic and Community Development (ODSEC by its Spanish acronym) to residents of island towns most affected by Hurricane Fiona.
Through the investment, the distribution of more than 150 pallets of drinking water, non-perishable food, cleaning products and personal hygiene items, among other important aid, was achieved in the aftermath of the Category 1 storm’s passage through Puerto Rico on Sept. 18.
“The aid reached the most affected communities in record time. From the day after the hurricane, our staff took to the streets to distribute aid in several municipalities, simultaneously,” said ODSEC Director Thais Reyes Serrano, who highlighted the help provided by the members of the Puerto Rico Firefighters Bureau, who generously assisted the elderly, women and other residents, mobilizing purchases from their vehicles and homes. “Our purpose, in each visit, in each community, has been to improve the quality of life of the residents with food, support and empathy.”
As of Monday, ODSEC had toured communities in the towns of Comerio, Naranjito, Salinas, Ponce, Mayagüez, Cabo Rojo, San Germán, Yauco, Lajas, Guánica, Guayanilla, Hormigueros, Añasco, Coamo, Carolina, Trujillo Alto, Arroyo, Orocovis, Barranquitas, Guayama, Santa Isabel, Peñuelas, Sabana Grande, Maunabo, Yabucoa, Camuy, Toa Alta, Aguas Buenas, Arecibo, Ciales, Río Grande, Loíza, Humacao and Naguabo.
During each tour, Reyes Serrano also identified particular needs of the inhabitants and the community in order to request additional aid and make the necessary referrals to other government agencies.
“We have accompanied Gov. Pierluisi on tours to the affected areas, around the entire island, particularly the southwest, and we have witnessed the needs they face after the passage of Hurricane Fiona,” she said. “We will continue to be active, without stopping, until all communities can move forward. That is our commitment. Puerto Rico is a blessed island and we are going to stand up once again.”
The tours continue this week in several communities in Cataño and Ponce.