The best of humanity: How the world is helping Puerto Rico
In the aftermath of one of the most devastating hurricanes in history, many are stepping up to the plate in bold ways.
On Sept. 19, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. The hurricane destroyed much of the island's buildings and homes. There were mass power outages, and a lack of food and supplies have become increasingly problematic. There are growing concerns for the elderly and other vulnerable groups.
While the news is dire, it's safe to say that in the aftermath of natural disasters, the best in humanity shines through. Countless groups and individuals are organizing recovery efforts. We obviously can't mention every one of these noble missions, but here are some that caught our eye...
The sports community
Major League Baseball, which has a large contingency of players from Puerto Rico, donated $1 million to help relief efforts. The league is also paying for doctors to travel there to provide assistance. On Wednesday, the Major League Baseball Players Trust announced that it will provide a grant to Operation Airdrop for the distribution of up to 1.5 million pounds of food, water and supplies to Puerto Rico. NBA player Carmelo Anthony, who is half Puerto Rican, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise a million dollars for relief efforts. Dallas Mavericks owner and "Shark Tank" judge Marc Cuban lent his team plane to point guard J.J. Barea, the NBA's only active Puerto Rican player, to deliver emergency supplies in the wake of the hurricane.
Help has been arriving from all around the world from groups like the Red Cross and Unicef. IsraAID, a humanitarian group from Israel, was one of the first to arrive on the scene. Their emergency response team is helping on multiple fronts. In addition to distributing supplies – such as basic hygiene items and water filtration systems – they are also providing psycho-social support to help with post-trauma mental health issues. "The first few days following a disaster are crucial towards minimizing its long-term destructive effects," IsraAid said in statement. "The team is working with local partners and rapidly assessing the most acute needs."
The entertainment world
After Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, Hollywood quickly put together a celebrity-filled telethon that raised tens of millions of dollars for relief efforts. While such a telethon might happen again to help after Hurricane Maria, some celebs aren't waiting. Latin rapper Pitbull sent his private plane to Puerto Rico to transport cancer patients to the mainland U.S. so they could continue to get life-saving chemotherapy treatments. "Thank God we're blessed to help," he told CNN. "Just doing my part." Pop star and actress Jennifer Lopez, who has been helping publicize the devastation through social media and press conferences, is the daughter of Puerto Ricans and has many family members on the island. The 48-year-old pop star rushed down to Puerto Rico to locate her family, two of whom had been unaccounted for. But after six long days of searching, she finally found her Aunt Adela and Uncle Tomas.
The business community
Google, Starbucks, Verizon, UPS, Walmart and scores of other corporations have already contributed money to relief efforts in Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Harvey, Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World, turned his 120 stores into drop-off locations for food and supplies in addition to donating generators and other tools from his stories. The 43-year-old is hoping to do even more for Puerto Rico. As viewers of CNBC's "The Profit" know, Lemonis has a distinct skillset for being able to transform a bad situation into something positive. He has turned to his large social media following to motivate them to not only donating supplies, but also coming up with ideas on how to help. Lemonis, who grew up in nearby Miami, is in the process of chartering both a cargo plane and a passenger jet to impacted areas. "It needs to be an organized effort," he said, adding that he has also pledged to help coordinate fundraising aspects. He is also trying to get the hashtag #HelpPuertoRicoNow trending so more people become aware of the situation. "This is about humanity, and really helping people right now."
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Related Topics: Humanitarian