Puerto Rico

Karla Peña, Resilience and Partnerships Program Manager

Hi, I’m Karla, part of a Mercy Corps Emergency Response team here in my home island of Puerto Rico. Are you ready to test your skills?

September 20, 2017: A devastating hurricane has just plunged 3.4 million people – my friends, family and neighbors — into a desperate crisis. There are so many immediate needs to meet, but we also have to make sure people have what they need for what is sure to be a long, grueling recovery.

As a new member of the team, we want to make sure we can keep you posted on what our colleagues around the world are working on. Let us know who we’re working with to proceed!

Challenge 1

As soon as the hurricane hit, the entire island lost electricity – and it still hasn’t been restored in most communities. With 1 million people without power, what can we bring that will help?

Challenge 2

Heavy rains and flash floods brought on by the storm have flooded wells and turned the streets into rivers full of debris. In some areas, floodwaters were waist-high – more than 30 inches deep – and often contaminated with sewage. What can we bring to help prevent the spread of disease?

Challenge 3

People need supplies, and they need them fast. About 80 percent of the island’s crop value was wiped out by Maria, representing a $780 million loss in agricultural yields – a devastating blow to an island with high poverty and already-fragile food security. What’s something we could bring to help?


Our teams prioritize delivering food to communities in moments of emergency when people often don’t have enough – and sometimes nothing at all – to eat.


When disaster or crisis destroys people’s homes, we distribute durable tents that they can use as immediate shelter while their communities work to rebuild.

Water Filter

Supplying water filters ensures that people have access to clean water and helps stop the spread of diseases in the aftermath of disaster.

Emergency Cash Card

Providing prepaid cash cards during emergencies not only helps make sure people can purchase the things they need most for themselves and their families, but helping them buy locally supports the local economy in a way that bringing in supplies would not.

Solar Lantern

Solar lanterns not only provide essential light when the power goes out, but also include USB chargers that enable people to connect with emergency services as well as loved ones. And bonus, they’re cheaper, safer and longer-lasting than kerosene lamps or candles.

Food Vouchers

Crises have a grave impact on communities’ food security. We provide food vouchers that immediately alleviate hunger, ensure that families can get enough to eat for the duration of their community’s recovery effort, and help support the local economy.

Medical Supplies

Distributing lifesaving medicines and resources that keep communities healthy is an integral part of our disaster response efforts.

Hygiene Supplies

To prevent the spread of disease, we distribute hygiene kits -- including items like soap, shampoo, bug spray and laundry detergent -- to help keep displaced families clean and healthy during a crisis.

Drag an item that can help onto the backpack

Thanks for packing these essential items for a first initiative of emergency aid!

Our teams are ready to help communities recover from natural disasters. We know that the road to recovery will always take time, and every little bit of help will make a big impact.

While not everyone can be on the ground to directly support those in need, you can make a donation to Mercy Corps today to help Puerto Rican communities and people in crisis around the world.

Will you give now to help build a better world?

I'm ready to help