More than 1,000 earthquakes have hit Puerto Rico so far this month, leaving thousands to take refuge in shelters and thousands more to stay outdoors for fear of another quake destroying more buildings. The American Red Cross is on the ground, helping those affected. The repeated quakes are traumatic for communities still recovering from Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
More than 180 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 22,000 relief supplies
Provided more than 3,200 integrated disaster care services to provide health and mental health services, as well as comfort and spiritual care.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can help people affected by the Puerto Rico Earthquakes by texting the word EARTHQUAKES to 90999 to make a $10 donation or indicating this disaster on the donation form on redcross.org, and printing and mailing to your local Red Cross chapter. The Red Cross honors donor intent, and all designated funds will be used to support the affected communities in Puerto Rico through emergency relief, recovery and preparedness efforts.
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.