Hurricane Ian—a Category 5 storm that just hit Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic—made landfall in Florida late Wednesday afternoon. With over 150-mile-per-hour winds and devastating blows to the state's power lines, the hurricane hit Fort Myers on the southwest side of Florida especially hard. Footage shared on social media depicted homes ravaged by floods and ripped from their foundations. Hurricane Ian arrives just three months after Tropical Storm Alex knocked out power grids across Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach. The devastation follows Puerto Rico's ravaging from Hurricane Fiona, which prompted millions of dollars in emergency relief aid from the government.
"We’ve never seen a storm surge of this magnitude,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference, according to AP News. “The amount of water that’s been rising, and will likely continue to rise today even as the storm is passing, is basically a 500-year flooding event."
If you're looking to help, luckily many relief organizations throughout Florida and the Caribbean are already on the scene. From those repairing homes and power lines, to organizations preparing meals and passing out clean water, below are a few trusted and helpful organizations that could use your help now.
The Florida Disaster Fund
Established by the state itself, the Florida Disaster Fund is a private resource for emergencies and disaster response that also accepts help from volunteers. Based in Tallahassee, the group accepts donations on its official website.
The PRxPR Relief and Rebuild Fund
The PRxPR Relief and Rebuild Fund in Puerto Rico is donating 100 percent of the money received to local hurricane relief. The group works with local organizations to restore access to clean water and repair hundreds of damaged roofs.
Convoy of Hope
To ensure that no one goes hungry or thirsty as they're displaced from their homes or forced to evacuate, Convoy of Hope is a group that provides groceries and response vehicles for those devastated by Hurricane Ian. The group is currently on the ground in Florida, where they plan to set up distribution points to assist victims of the storm.
American Red Cross
The Red Cross has been able to set up temporary solar grid power systems and help local hospitals the past month throughout the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. They encourage local residents in non-impacted areas to visit RedCrossBlood.org—and help out by giving blood and platelets to support injured victims of the storm.
The United Nations World Food Programme and World Central Kitchen
Feeding the hungry in the Dominican Republic, the United Nations World Food Programme was sent to prepare meals and assist victims. The World Central Kitchen, which previously crossed the borders to help people in Ukraine, also made landfall in Puerto Rico.
The Hispanic Federation
The Hispanic Foundation was already working to repair health centers in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Fiona earlier this month, but the group has since expanded to help those in the Dominican Republic as well. Over the past five years since Hurricane Maria, the organization supplied over 7.5 million pounds of food, water, and medicine in conjunction with local town mayors.
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