Hurricane Maria, which ranged from a high category 4 storm to a category 5, left a wake of destruction in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, Dominica, the Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, and Guadalupe. Many islands were devastated by the strong winds and are now left in varied states of emergency. At least 30 people were killed across the islands. Puerto Rico, in particular, was completely devastated.
The storm hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on September 20, with winds reaching 155 mph. Now, the island is without electricity and trying to cope with severe water, food, and fuel shortages. An estimated 60 percent of people don’t have water, and widespread flooding is compounding the wreckage left by the storm.
Many islands still do not have any communication, and so the extent of the devastation is not fully known. In Puerto Rico, at least eight Nazarene churches report extensive damage to their buildings. Some area in areas that are still flooded, so assessments are still ongoing. Many families have been displaced from their homes. Thankfully, there has been no loss of life reported.
Since so many islands are cut off from aid or travel, the entire scope of what is needed is still largely unknown. Nazarene churches with infrastructure have been providing meals and shelter for families in their communities.
The immediate needs are food, water, batteries, fuel, and shelter. We are working toward getting supplies to the island. Financial support and prayers are what is most needed right now.