When we go back to the States, our home base is in Florida. We arrived at the beginning of September, the height of hurricane season! And we quickly found ourselves in the path of three hurricanes: Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Jose, and Hurricane Maria.
Irma was the biggest and baddest one headed our way. Irma was a Category 5 storm, the strongest storm since Wilma in 2005, the most intense since Katrina (also 2005), and the first to make landfall in Florida since Wilma. We were in for a doozy.
We live in the middle of the state, so usually even the strongest of hurricanes weaken before hitting us. We don’t typically have to worry about flooding or structural damage to our home. The biggest threat is usually just power outages, but we had a generator. So while many people further south or along the coasts were fleeing north and inland, we boarded up the windows, stocked up on water, chips, and gas, and prepared to ride out the storm.
First came the rain…
Then came the wind!
Our baby loves the wind and the rain. So even she had to experience her first hurricane!
In the end, we were quite lucky. We were without power for 4 days and had some damage to a fence. But many people were quite worse off. 90 people died due to the storm and there was over 60 billion dollars in damage.
Hurricane Jose then spun off into oblivion.
But then came Hurricane Maria.
By the time Hurricane Maria became a threat to the area, we were in North Carolina visiting family there. We still had family in Florida, but Maria didn’t really threaten the mainland. Puerto Rico has been another story, though. The damage there has been catastrophic. And even now, over a month later, hundreds of thousands of Americans are without power, water, and other basic necessities. It could take years for the island to recover. Local officials are calling the situation a humanitarian crisis.
Here are several reputable websites you can donate through to help the people of Puerto Rico
- United for Puerto Rico (spearheaded by the First Lady of Puerto Rico)
- Center for Popular Democracy
- Hispanic Federation’s “Unidos” page
- International Medical Corps
- Former U.S. presidents have expanded their One America Appeal to include recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
- Catholic Relief Services
- Direct Relief
- Save the Children, which focuses specifically on the needs of families and their children.
- Global Giving has a $2 million goal for victims of Hurricane Maria