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Puerto Rico: Malteser International warns of a looming health crisis

The destruction after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Photo: Malteser International

Cologne/New York: More than two months after Hurricane Maria laid waste to large parts of Puerto Rico, huge numbers of people continue to suffer under the lingering effects of the storm. Amongst the worst affected are the towns of Humacao in the South East, and Guaynabo in the North East of the island. Many houses have been flooded or had their roofs torn off. The simple corrugated huts that are home to many of the poorest have been completely destroyed. There is a desperate shortage of shelter – and supplies of clean water, food, and medication are running low: “The people here urgently need more help in order to prevent the spread of disease,” said Ravi Tripptrap, Executive Director of Malteser International Americas. “We can see how the situation is getting worse day by day.” 

Numerous cases of tropical diseases such as Zika, Dengue, and Chikuyunga Fever have been registered since the beginning of the disaster. “If these illnesses continue to spread, Puerto Rico is set to face a huge health crisis,” warned Tripptrap.

The local delegation of the Order of Malta has been providing assistance to the people affected in Humacao and Guynabo since mid-October. With help from Malteser International, around 20,000 warm meals, 8,000 food packets, and more than 21,000 bottles of drinking water have been distributed since then, while weekly consultations with doctors have been provided. Aid activities are centered around two distribution stations based on land owned by local parishes.

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Contact

Katharina Kiecol
+49-(0)221-96441-181
Email: katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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