DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - It is day three of packing and preparing supplies for Puerto Rico, which has seen historic flooding across the island from Hurricane Fiona. The hurricane has damaged much of the new infrastructure built since Hurricane Maria ravaged the island five years ago.
For the Global Empowerment Mission there’s only one goal.
“How to get the most amount of aid to the most amount of people in the shortest amount of time for the least amount of money,” said Michael Capponi, president and founder, Global Empowerment Mission (GEM).
It’s what they’ve done since the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and what they continue to do today.
Volunteers assembled in a line to pack family necessity kits that contain socks, canned foods and hygiene products. All the items were placed in a box that can sustain a family for about a week.
“We go in disaster mode, so we work around the clock packing containers or planes or whatever method of transportation we’re using for that disaster,” said the COO of the GEM, Emily Fullmer, “so the first thing we do is send out is palettes of our family necessity kits, so those go immediately after a disaster. Then we backfill them by creating more boxes immediately, so those can be pre-positioned so they can continue helping for that disaster or for future disaster.”
The workers at the Global Empowerment Mission on Tuesday said they already had crews on the ground ready to distribute help as soon as it arrives.
After Hurricane Fiona dumped about 20 inches of rain in 24 hours on parts of Puerto Rico and left a million people without running water in the Dominican Republic, the GEM teams got to work.
They know the aftermath is the biggest killer of natural disasters with no power and no water.
“We’re packing family necessity kits to send to families over there that have lost their home and help sustain them for the next one to two weeks, food and hygiene, socks, other small things you would need right off the bat after losing your home,” said Fullmer. “After that, we’ll move into larger bulk aid, so generators and water purification systems, and things like that. Our last phase of response will be more focused on the exact needs of that community, whether that’s reconstruction or anything like that.”
“We source everything that’s available in San Juan that you can distribute to the people in the villages that are needed while things are in the air being transported and while containers have already come and picked up,” said Capponi.
Meanwhile, they have crews on the ground that got to work as soon as airports opened up, reporting what the conditions are like and what is needed most.
“We’re in some of the remote areas of Puerto Rico, where some of the roads have been obstructed, where a 15-minute commute to the center is taking over an hour, if they can get through at all, so we are going up as far as we can and seeing what needs they have, so we can deliver necessity kits and later on the mattresses and other things that are larger scale,” said a crew member.
They’re gearing up for where disaster will strike next.
“And it’s widening because it just hit now Turks and Caicos. It’s going to be a Cat 4 heading towards Bermuda,” said Capponi. “We’re going to be in the Dominican Republic on Monday.”
The people at GEM are not the only ones in South Florida that are working hard to get those much-needed supplies and help to the people of Puerto Rico.
The Archdiocese of Miami is also collecting monetary donations across the diocese where 100% of the donations will go directly to Puerto Rico.
If you would like to donate, click here.
To donate to Global Empowerment Mission, click here.
To donate to the International Medical Corps, click here.
Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.