On September 19, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Dominica as a Category 5 hurricane before moving on to devastate Puerto Rico and neighboring islands. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, the small island of Dominica was destroyed and Puerto Rico’s 3 million American citizens were rendered almost entirely without power. Reports estimated that 80% of the island’s transmission lines (which deliver power from the energy plants) have been incapacitated, with substantially all local power lines (facilitating to residences/business) being destroyed as well.
From September 9th-25th, the JGI-led organizations coordinated over 800,000 pounds of food and resources throughout 20 Florida cities including Bonita Springs, North Miami, Pompano Beach, Avon Park, Lake Placid Lehigh Acres, Dunbar, Jacksonville, and many others. The JGI ORGANIZATIONS through its network of emergency management agencies, local and federal officials along with over 2000 faith-based centers provided real-time data to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other agencies ensuring support reached those who need it the most.
Phase One: From September 25, 2017, through October 31, 2017, JGI organizations coordinated with local officials to deliver food, resources, and logistical support to those impacted in Puerto Rico and neighboring regions. Within days of the disaster event, JGI organizations successfully established flight and distribution operations throughout the island, narrowing their focus to a smaller underserved population within Puerto Rico. Strategic partnerships produced the allocation of cargo aircraft, warehousing, and private passenger flights to ensure logistical efficiency.
JGI centered its focus on the expansion of transportation, warehousing, and bulk distribution operations throughout South Florida and Puerto Rico to allow partner resources to enter the island. JGI led organization, the United Nations Chaplains Association led Rapid Response Team streamlined efforts throughout community leaders and national partners in both Florida and Puerto Rico to deploy concentrated resources at the community level such as:
-Crisis Counseling/Shelter Support
-Delivery of bottled water and canned foods, hygiene supplies, and other comfort items.
Phase Two: From October 31, 2017, through December 31, 2018, JGI led organizations is centered upon establishing Bulk Distribution sites and Multi-Agency Centers throughout the Central and Southern portions of the island of Puerto Rico. On October 14, 2017, the JGI ORGANIZATIONS created bilateral- synergies with officials assigned to the disaster relief efforts from the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, Air Force, island municipalities, and local business operators. The strategic partnerships resulted in streamlined transportation logistics, security, increased distribution channels, and thousands of warehouse square footage located throughout the island for use by JGI ORGANIZATIONS and partners.
Bulk Distributions Sites: To assist in the recovery of residents affected by the disaster the JGI established and launch bulk distribution sites providing food, water, and supplies for residents of affected areas that are underserved. The purpose of the sites provided resources at the neighborhood level; directly into the hands of those who have been affected.
Multi-Agency Centers (MAC’s): JGI established MAC’s provide additional ability for local, federal, non-profit agencies and service providers to collaborate in a central location throughout the response and recovery phases of the disaster. The MAC’s also served as a central location for citizens to receive services; as opposed to making multiple stops. In an effort to establish uniformity, the JGI launched the Puerto Rico Relief Initiative as a vehicle to collaborate between partner agencies.