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More than two months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island remains in crisis. Millions, especially in rural, harder to reach communities remain without power, access to clean drinking water, refrigeration, and other essential resources. This is one of the worst humanitarian disasters in U.S. history.
OHorizons, a global nonprofit organization, is embarking on a massive Puerto Rico relief initiative that is saving lives by putting their global experience of implementing practical, scalable, and locally empowering clean water and off-grid electricity solutions in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America into practice in Puerto Rico. Their relief initiative is called, ¡Brilla Fuerte Puerto Rico! – which translates to “Shine Bright Puerto Rico!”
“The impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria stuck particularly close to our hearts,” stated Orlando Bustos, founder of OHorizons and Puerto Rican resident. “This is still a humanitarian emergency. Just yesterday, I was talking with women residents of Utuado who described the fear they experience nightly in the total darkness.”
While San Juan and other large cities receive the majority of attention, OHorizons is aiming to help across thirty-four rural municipalities they have identified as underserved and at-risk. The organization has deep roots and a vast network of resources on the island: including locally based team members, a staging ground, tools for consolidation and assembly; as well as a fleet of 500 food trucks and local drivers, its own helicopter, and access to heavy machinery for harder to reach areas.
“Our relief initiative is truly special because of the cutting-edge solar battery lighting and cell phone charging home systems and high-quality and capacity water filters we’re giving residents. These products integrate smoothly into the end-user’s daily lives, instilling security and confidence in their situation because they’re now self-reliant.” – Dylan Lunney, Director of Communications at OHorizons.
OHorizons’ current plan is to provide:
- 20,000 hollow fiber membrane water filters – each filter remove over 99.999% of bacteria and protozoa that cause waterborne illness and meets the daily needs of 100 people.
- 25,000 solar battery light and charging systems- generate power for up to 15 hrs/charge, lighting up a house and charging the mobile USB devices we all depend on. Plus, inflatable solar lights that are lightweight and simple to use.
- 500 portable generators – providing energy for emergency/medical situations.
- 75 solar refrigeration units – so hospitals can store their vaccine and other supplies safely.
OHorizons has already done product distributions in Humacao, Rio Grande, Utuado, and Jayuya stabilizing the lives of thousands of people in these communities. The response from recipients has been very positive.
“Me and my neighbors were blessed with this initiative; good water filter and excellent solar lighting system! Very nice and organized crew, good job! Thanks OHorizons!” Edwin Medina Lopez, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
“You (OHorizons) are doing what needs to be done,” said a recipient in Utuado. “It’s important that efforts like this are supported. Bottled water is great, but being able to light my home and having reliable access to clean water to keep my son safe is most important.”
“In order to continue empowering Puerto Rican families by providing these life-saving clean water and solar energy products, we need financial support. To donate to this worthy cause, please visit: youcaring.com/ShineBright-PuertoRico” –Dylan Lunney