November 16, 2017. Juncos, Puerto Rico. A man stops for the camera as he receives an aid bundle from Mercy Corps working through community partner LTRG (Long Term Recovery Group). The bundle included a $100 prepaid Mastercard, Lifestraw water filter, and a Solar Lamp by Total.
Punta Santiago, Humacao. A woman shows the damage done at the side of her house, where a large tree fell during hurricane Maria. The tree is sitting on the roof and she sleeps in fear every night wondering at each small noise if it is going to come crashing through. She holds a solar lamp given to her by Mercy Corps that will enable her to light her home at night. This day marked the 78th day this woman would have been without power since the hurricane, unless she lost it even before then as many others did during hurricane Irma.
She was very grateful but apparently confused, despite our efforts to explain about and set up the lantern, because after we had left her, she stopped us as we passed her on our way to another street to ask how the “hot plate” worked. She had assumed it was to heat her food. The municipality of Humacao is where the hurricane made landfall and this community in Punta Santiago was very hard hit. Adding to the desperateness of the situation, the neighborhood where this woman lives is full of, like her, many elderly people who live alone.
Punta Santiago, Humacao. A man stands with local partner surveying the status of his home after hurricane Maria. Upon arrival, the team saw him cooking a meal in his kitchen with no ceiling and no walls. Various solar lanterns that were donated to him sit soaking up the sunrays. Despite his hardships, he shared his gratitude and a renewed faith in his religion regarding all that had happened.
Camino Nuevo, Yabucoa. The matron of this family shows Long Term Recovery Group Partner and Mercy Corps staff what is left of her home. Being on the southeast coast of the island, this area in Yabucoa was relatively close to where the hurricane made landfall, and it took half of this family’s home. Fishermen by trade, the homes of this community once adjoined a beach. Now, what is left of their houses sits on a cliff, waves crashing into open kitchens. At the time this photo was taken, they still lived there.