Another quake hit Puerto Rico yesterday morning. There are now officially 8,000 refugees and perhaps tens of thousands more who cannot or will not return to their homes. See below for details, and go here to help. -- Gary
The earthquake crisis is FAR FROM OVER in Puerto Rico. In fact, the recovery really cannot begin until the earthquakes stop. And they just don't seem to stop.
The island was hit by another earthquake early yesterday morning. And the people here are simply afraid that the next shaking will cause their homes to crumble, so they won't return to their homes.
+ + 8,000 refugees, "psychological torture"
One official estimate indicates there are 8,000 refugees from the earthquakes. But that number is just the tip of the iceberg because it doesn't count those who are sleeping in tents in local parks, or on the side of the street, or even outside their own homes. One report says there have been as many as 40,000 people camping outside their homes in the city of Ponce alone. We hear reports that people will run into their homes, gather a few things, and then run out for fear of another earthquake. One person close to the situation called it "psychological torture."
Ponce is where our Mercy Chefs kitchen is based. And from that kitchen, we are providing hot meals to hard-hit communities and makeshift "tent villages" in the surrounding area. Our team -- along with many local volunteers -- has worked hard to convert a kitchen that was designed for a small church into a vibrant center of relief for these earthquake victims every day. And the stories grab your heart.
One young mother shared that she was living with her two children in a 16-story apartment complex that was evacuated and deemed unsafe for inhabitants. She has been able to gather in a small community along with other family members. She thanked us for the meals and pleaded with us to continue to serve her and her community. That community alone received 150 meals.
+ + Will you help "adopt" a forgotten village?
As I've noted, our Mercy Chefs team has adopted several communities that are generally beyond the reach of typical relief aid. For some, a Mercy Chefs meal may be the only assistance they get.
I want to keep serving these forgotten communities, but we rely on the generosity of friends like you!
As we continue serving meals to earthquake victims this week, will you prayerfully consider sponsoring 5, 10, 20, 40 or even 100 hot meals in Puerto Rico while we continue other vital efforts? Go here to make your tax-deductible gift:
Perhaps the Lord has blessed you and you can make a gift that would effectively sponsor in its entirety one of these forgotten tent communities. Just $250 will help sponsor an entire village to receive a hot meal this week. A gift of $1,000 will go a long way to help us feed several villages. Of course, every gift will help.
Finally, please pray for the people of Puerto Rico. As I noted, the recovery really can't begin until the earthquakes stop and people can return to their homes and start rebuilding.
Thanks in advance for your prayers and your support.
Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs