Assisting Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

September 25, 2017

Nearly a week after Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, the island’s 3.4 million residents face a growing humanitarian crisis. Most are still without power, food is scarce, and more than half have no access to drinkable water.

Category Four winds and a storm surge knocked out the island's electric grid and created a near-total communications blackout, leaving some towns unreachable. It’s estimated that it will take six months before power is fully restored.

Columbia's Office of University Life is offering counseling and mental health services to students and staff. Multiple Columbia affiliates, the City of New York and international organizations are organizing efforts to assist Puerto Rico and send necessary items to those on the island.

Here is a list of resources and ways to help:


Find a Loved One

The Red Cross has created a webpage that allows residents of Puerto Rico to click a “safe and well” button and families and friends can search the list to look for loved ones.

Students currently abroad should call the local equivalent of 911, and then call International SOS at (215) 942-8478.

On Campus Health and Wellness

A number of resources are available for students interested in meeting with a counselor.

  • Morningside Campus Counseling and Psychological Services, (212) 854-2878
  • CUMC Mental Health Services, (212) 305-3400
  • International SOS for students traveling or studying abroad, (215) 942-8478

How to Help

The City of New York
New York City has designated 18 firehouses across the five boroughs that will accept critically needed necessities, which will be delivered to those affected by the storm. Drop-off spots will be open from 7 AM to 9 PM. The City will accept is only these items:

  • Diapers
  • Baby food
  • Batteries
  • First aid supplies
  • Feminine hygiene products

FDNY locations accepting drop-offs are listed here.

On Campus Drop-Off
Donations of the essential items listed above are being collected in the lobby of Columbia Law School through Sept. 28. Students will then bring the collection to one of the City’s designated drop-off spots.

Government - Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration –
Unidos por Puerto Rico - Unidos por Puerto Rico

Government - New York City
New York City State – NY.Gov
New York City Gov. Fund donate to Puerto Rico - NYC.Gov
Fire Department New York City – FDNY & FDNY Facebook Page

Hispanic Federation’s Unidos
Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Congress Members Nydia Velazquez and Adriano Espaillat, and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have joined with the Hispanic Federation to create a relief fund for those affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Donations can be made here.

UNICEF, the United Nation’s vehicle to help children, is mobilizing to get immediate, critical support to the children of Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria.

Center for Popular Democracy has created a Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund, which will send every dollar raised to support relief, recovery and rebuilding in Puerto Rico.

One America Appeal, an organization launched by all five former living presidents, has expanded is fundraising for victims of Hurricane Harvey to include recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

All Hands Volunteers has sent a rapid response team to St. Thomas and is moving to help the other islands devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Catholic Relief Services is providing shelter, water and critical supplies, including tarps, tents, as well as hygiene and kitchen kits to families affected by all the recent hurricanes.

Americares, a health-focused relief and development organization, is mobilizing its resources to assist those affected by the recent hurricanes from Texas to the Caribbean.

Save the Children is on the ground in Puerto Rico tending to the needs of families and their children.

Global Giving, a crowdfunding organization that connects donors, companies and nonprofits, has created a relief fund for Puerto Rico and Caribbean hurricane relief.

‘Students with Puerto Rico’ GoFundMe page was created by students at colleges and universities across the U.S. who have created a crowdfunding page that will benefit a public/private initiative called Unidos por Puerto Rico.

National Foundations & Organization
Acacia Network –
American Red Cross – Hurricane Maria Relief Information 
Hispanic Federation -
Latino Justice –

International Foundations
Oxfam –
Pan American Development Foundation -
Save the Children –

Independent Coalitions
Carmelo Anthony Puerto Rico Relief - The Players Tribune
Eco Kit Puerto Rico – Eco Kit Duffle Initiative
Fondos Unidos de Puerto Rico –
Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico –
María: Puerto Rico Real-time Recovery Fund –
Puerto Rico por Puerto Rico -
Puerto Rico Rises - Puerto Rico Rises

Community and Cultural Partners
Celebrate Mexico Now Festival – Rise! NY|MX Earthquake Relief for Mexico Benefit Concert – arts and culture
Revolución Latina – Hurricane and Earthquake Relief Dance-A-Thon
Voices for Puerto Rico – – arts and culture

Maria & Irma: Puerto Rico Real-time Recovery Fund

1511 Ave. Ponce de León Suite K, La Ciudadela
San Juan P.R. 00909