Now more than a month since Hurricane Maria, one P&Ger in Puerto Rico describes the determination she sees in the face of Maria’s devastation.
P&G continues to work actively and closely with our disaster relief partner organizations in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria claimed dozens of lives and left the island without power, food, fuel, water and communications.
Immediately after Maria, we provided monetary grants to support two partner organizations there: AmeriCares and International Medical Corps.
AmeriCares worked with the Puerto Rico and U.S. Departments of Health to assess the damage to health facilities across the island. International Medical Corps provided much needed health care and water, sanitation and hygiene services. Both organizations sent rapid response teams with doctors, medicine and supplies.
Relief needs spanned an entire region
We partnered with Global Medic to distribute P&G Purifier of Water packets in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominica, Turks and Caicos and Tortola—along with P&G products like Pampers in some of these countries as well. In addition, other companies like DayOne Response deployed more than 3,500 water bags (which use P&G Purifier of Water sachets) across the larger region of hurricane-affected areas.
The P&G Employee and Retiree Disaster Relief Fund expanded to help victims of the hurricanes in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and southern United States—based on need as assessed by P&G’s disaster relief partners. At this writing, the total employee/retiree monetary donations (plus P&G-matched funds) is estimated at over $500,000, with total monetary and product donation totals estimated at $2 million.
Puerto Rico’s struggles linger on
Matthew 25: Ministries is still in Puerto Rico providing free medical care in hard-to-reach areas, training and distributing our P&G Purifier of Water packets, and working with local P&G employees to distribute P&G products like Always, Bounty, Charmin, Crest, Herbal Essences, Gain, Gillette, Luvs, Mr. Clean, Old Spice, Pampers, Secret and Vidal Sassoon.
Through all of this, our local P&G employees have shown amazing spirit and determination to do what’s needed to restore business operations while caring for themselves, their families, and their community.
P&Ger describes everyday life in Puerto Rico
Norelis Saavedra (pictured below, at right), a P&G Commercial Operations Team Leader in Puerto Rico, shared this inspiring testimonial to the resilience of P&G people:
Making it through the day post-Maria takes all the acumen of a marketing manager and the planning expertise of a logistic expert. P&G team members in Puerto Rico typically wake up with the light of dawn, since electricity is a basic necessity most have had to live without since the first week of September, when Hurricane Irma hit the Island.
With no sign of relief in sight, we try to plan our day, but must improvise to meet our family’s basic needs, braving long lines and a lack of communications along the way.
Our first task of the day is finding water and gas, which has been in short supply. It’s normal to wait 5 hours to purchase a tank of gas or a couple of 12-packs of 16 oz. bottles of drinking water.
Photo credit:AP Photo/Carlos Giusti
Supermarket shelves are bare, and we might stand in line for a couple of hours to buy the rationed number of items for which we are allowed within 15 minutes of shopping time. Make a list, or you will come out empty handed.
But instead of despairing at this lack of the most basic amenities, our P&G team members agree that it has brought out the best in most people—sharing their houses with siblings, parents and grandparents, providing power from a generator to a neighbor with an extension cord and posting where water and gas can be found (for those who are lucky to have mobile service). Children who rarely venture outdoors are now seen running around and riding bikes. Multiple generations have re-discovered board games.
As one of my colleagues recently said,
We’re grateful for our many relief partners who are tirelessly leading the way in helping us provide everyday essentials to the people of Puerto Rico and the surrounding region. We wish them all “back on track again, and stronger” very soon.