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Water For Salinas: A Hurricane Maria Recovery Story

Hurricane Maria may have hit Puerto Rico over two years ago, but the scars of a Category 5 hurricane don’t heal easily and many of the wounds inflicted by 165mph winds remain raw even today. 

A walk through the Puerto Rican town of Salinas is like looking inside a skeleton. What once were homes are now just battered and emaciated structures, abandoned and barely standing.

Hurricane Maria destroys Puerto Rican village

The federal emergency response in this region was brief and minimal. Hurricane Maria wiped out jobs as indiscriminately as she did homes. The result? Many residents made the unimaginable decision to leave when their homes were rendered uninhabitable and they couldn’t afford the repairs.

Those who stayed have faced impossible conditions. Vital resources like electricity, healthcare, and water have not been universally accessible, and what there is has been unreliable. Fortunately, nearly 96% of people living on the island have their water restored to date, but communities outside of the larger cities were slower to reconnect, leaving many households with undependable water access. Frequent electrical outages and faulty generators meant that pumps weren’t consistently delivering water to homes. 

Every day, families were rationing their water, fighting to prevent dehydration and sanitation issues. Without running water, even quenching your thirst becomes complicated.

Stationed in Puerto Rico to provide personalized long-term hurricane recovery assistance to residents, Endeavors was able to deliver a solution to these families. Together, a group of Disaster Case Managers working in Salinas came up with an idea.

Water cisterns.

By collecting rainwater, storing it, and pumping it into the home, water cisterns are a reliable alternative to ground and surface water. Cisterns can be installed under or above ground, and simply require a standard pressurized plumbing system, making them easy to install in nearly any environment. 

To bring this simple yet life-changing technology to Salinas, the Disaster Case Managers reached out to the Coca Cola Company, who was able to donate five large water cisterns to assist multiple families in need. 

Water cisterns are delivered to a Puerto Rico community devestated by Hurricane Maria

The day the cisterns were delivered was a flurry of unloading equipment, installing, and testing the pumps. Then — finally — there was running water. For the families of Salinas, this meant not only access to clean, potable water, but it empowered them to self-sustainability and provided a means to maintain a safe and reliable water source. Even in the event of another electrical glitch, these families would never need to worry about a lack of water.

By working with each client in Salinas, our Disaster Case Managers were able to provide personalized assistance. 

About Endeavors Puerto Rico

Endeavors® Puerto Rico is a non-profit organization providing client-focused services for short-term relief and long-term recovery. We provide assistance in developing recovery plans, creating safe environments, and providing resource referrals for individuals impacted by presidentially declared disaster areas. 

Related Article: 10 Inspiring Stories That Prove Disaster Case Management Matters

With several offices located throughout Puerto Rico (San Juan, Ponce, Arecibo, and Mayaguez), Endeavors offers a two-pronged approach to Disaster Relief. Through our Disaster Case Management and Emergency Services, our team creates individualized recovery plans for individuals and families, then we team up with local and national partners to secure services and provide resource referrals for our clients. We’re here to find immediate and long-term help for people when they don’t know where to turn. 

So, How Can You Help?

Charitable giving for Puerto Rico disaster recovery

You can help speed things up by donating to Endeavors.  When you support Endeavors®, you have a direct impact on the lives of people.  Donors are agents of hope that help restore and rebuild the broken lives of families and individuals served by Endeavors®. With the support of our donors, we are able to touch the lives of more than 18,000 people each year. One replaced roof, one refurbished home, and one water cistern at a time… Endeavors is continually working to provide long-term, sustainable recovery across Puerto Rico.