New Quake Hits Puerto Rico – Red Cross Remains On the Scene

Report
from American Red Cross
Published on 13 Jan 2020 View Original

Yet another earthquake hit Puerto Rico over the weekend, causing landslides and damage to homes and businesses on the island which has seen more than 1,000 tremors since late December. The American Red Cross is there, supporting those impacted.

Thousands of people in the southwest part of the island are taking refuge in the government-run shelters which the Red Cross is supporting. Thousands more are staying outdoors for fear of another quake. Most power and water services have been restored. Initial estimates report about 500 homes have been destroyed or received major damage. The repeated quakes are traumatic for communities still recovering from Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

About 170 Red Cross disaster workers are on the scene, supporting the government shelters and helping to care for vulnerable populations such as the elderly and children. Red Cross workers are also going neighborhood by neighborhood to give out emergency supplies, including hygiene kits and comfort items, and sharing preparedness information. As part of the door to door outreach, these Red Cross teams are also checking on the health and wellbeing of residents including checking blood pressure, providing emotional support and sharing coping and safety information. All of these services are part of the help people need while they begin to plan their next steps.

The Red Cross has already:

  • Distributed more than 16,000 relief supplies

  • Provided more than 1,300 integrated care contacts to provide health and mental health services, as well as comfort and spiritual care.

  • Helped more than 540 people plan their next steps

HOW YOU CAN HELP You can help people affected by disasters like earthquakes and countless other crises by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

STEPS TO HELP COPE

People may experience a variety of feelings and thoughts after something like the earthquakes in Puerto Rico, especially since many are still working to recover from 2017’s devastating hurricanes. The Red Cross has information people can use to cope in the aftermath of this tragedy.

Something like this is upsetting for everyone involved. People near the emergency are affected, as well as people all over the country who may have family in the area, or people who are watching the media coverage of this situation.

Children are especially at risk as they may become afraid that the event will happen again, or that they or someone in their family may be injured or killed. The situation is difficult for them to understand. It is important to reassure children and talk to them in a calm manner. Their view of the world as a safe and predictable place is temporarily lost. How a parent or other adult reacts around the child following a traumatic event can determine how quickly and completely the child recovers.

People may be experiencing many different emotions like fear, anger, confusion, shock, disbelief, sadness and grief. These are all normal feelings after this type of event.

People’s reactions appear in different ways, not only in the way someone feels, but how they think and what they think about; their sleeping habits, how they go about daily living; and the way they interact and get along with others. Here are a few steps to help people cope:

  • Stay informed, but limit exposure to media coverage of the events.

  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water and get enough rest.

  • Be patient with yourself and others. It’s common to have any number of temporary stress reactions such as anger, frustration and anxiety.

  • Stay connected with your family and other support systems. Reach out and accept help from others.

  • Encourage children: to express their feelings and thoughts. Reassure them about their safety.

To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.

American Red Cross:
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is provided at no cost, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. The Red Cross also supplies nearly half of the nation's lifesaving blood. This, too, is made possible by generous voluntary donations. To help the victims of disaster, you may make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. To donate blood, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543), or contact your local Red Cross to find out about upcoming blood drives. © Copyright, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.