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Donate to Red Cross to aid earthquake victims


Puerto Rico was jolted by a series of earthquakes and aftershocks in the first two weeks of the year — including a 5.9 magnitude quake on Jan. 11 — which have damaged about 800 homes and left many displaced residents without power. Thousands of people need urgent help.

Among the many organizations providing relief is the American Red Cross, which sent 180 disaster workers to the island to support government shelters and help care for vulnerable populations such as the elderly and children. The workers have also gone from neighborhood to neighborhood, handing out emergency supplies.

You can help, too. The best way to support these efforts is with financial donations, according to the Red Cross, which can be made by going online to www.RedCross.org, calling (800) 733-2767 or texting the word EARTHQUAKES to 90999 to make a $10 donation. For more information, you can also call the Long Island office of the American Red Cross at (516) 747-3500.

The Red Cross provides hygiene kits and comfort items, food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning and other assistance to disaster victims like those in Puerto Rico, while sharing preparedness information. As part of the door-to-door outreach, teams are also gauging residents’ health and well-being, checking their blood pressure and sharing coping and safety information.

According to NBC News, more than 1,000 earthquakes struck Puerto Rico in the first two weeks of January. They have forced more than 8,000 people to flee for outdoor shelters, including government-run ones and others that are informal or run by non-governmental organizations, according to NBC, which cited Puerto Rico’s Office of Emergency Management. The quakes have been followed by a series of aftershocks, including a 6.4-magnitude one in Guánica, in southern Puerto Rico. The aftershocks are expected to continue, but will lessen in frequency over the next month, the report said.

Thus far, the Red Cross has distributed relief supplies to more than 22,000 people, and has offered more than 3,200 integrated disaster care services to provide health and mental health services, as well as comfort and spiritual care.