Puerto Rico Earthquake Relief Benefit in Jersey City

In January, the southern coast of Puerto Rico was rocked by a series of earthquakes, including two major 5.9 and 6.4 quakes and more than 1,100 smaller quakes and aftershocks over 15 days.

The earthquakes left hundreds of families displaced and, according to Puerto Rico’s Wanda Vázquez Garced, caused upwards of $110 million in damage from toppled homes, schools, buildings, and more – with a total of 559 structures affected – in an area already in need of aid for recovery from the damage of previous earthquakes. The Governor said her administration was immediately releasing $2 million to six of the most affected municipalities, but as this is a fraction of what is needed to help the affected families, the call for disaster aid went out.

Puerto Rico earthquake relief
William Mercuchi and his daughter Joan in front of their collapsed home in Yauco, Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy of usatoday.com and Carlos Giusti, AP.


Helping Our Puerto Rican Family

Mayor Steven M. Fulop and Councilman at Large, Daniel Rivera, answered the call and announced a resolution to adopt four cities in Puerto Rico to help with recovery. With a fundraising goal of $200,000, Jersey City officials are leading efforts to provide recovery assistance for families in the most affected areas. The resolution, to be presented at the next City Council meeting, identifies Ponce, Guayanila, Yauco, and Guanica as the four cities to receive all proceeds raised by Jersey City for rebuilding efforts.

“We want to stand in solitude with our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico who lost their homes and everything they own in the last month,” said Councilman at Large Rivera. “We have a large Hispanic population here in Jersey City, many of whom have family who still live in Puerto Rico.  We need to come together to help Puerto Rico bounce back, especially the families unexpectedly left living in perilous situations, which is why we’ll host an event on February 1st to kickoff fundraising efforts.”

The Jersey City-based Operation Temblor Puerto Rico JC fundraising event will be held on February 1st at the Harborside Atrium, located at 210 Hudson Street, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets for the event are $25 per person with all proceeds going to directly assisting affected families.

Puerto Rico earthquake relief

A Continuous Show of Support

This isn’t the first time Jersey City has lent a helping hand to Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Maria hit in 2017, Councilman at Large Rivera lead Jersey City’s relief efforts to collect 1.3 million pounds of food, water, diapers, and other essential supplies for the devastated country. The latest fundraising drive will directly help the battered island with financial assistance for families as they work to get their lives back in order.

“This is a time when the strength of our diversity really shines through in the darkness of devastation, and I hope we can really make a difference to help reset the course for the thousands of people picking up the pieces in the aftermath of the earthquake,” said Mayor Fulop. “We want to do all we can to help and show Puerto Rico as much support as possible during this difficult time.”

Puerto Rico earthquake relief
US army reserve assembling cot in tent city to house hundreds of displaced people in Guanica, Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy of usatoday.com and Carlos Giusti, AP

The initiative was made possible from the generous support of the Jersey City Puerto Rican Parade Committee, Hudson County Clerk Junior Maldonado, Hudson County Board Of Chosen Freeholders, Hudson County Latino Caucus, Carevel Foundation, Puertorriquenos Asociados for Community Organization (PACO), Hispanic American Law Enforcement Association, Laborers International Union of North America Local 3, Jersey City Hispanic Firefighters Society, New Jersey State Bar Association, Hispanic Bar Association and More4Amor Foundation