AmeriCorps Joins FEMA, American Red Cross, Other Federal Agencies in Support of Hurricane Fiona Relief
82 national service members address community needs in San Juan, Vega Baja and Ponce, Puerto Rico.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, deployed AmeriCorps teams to Puerto Rico after the major disaster declaration of Hurricane Fiona on Wednesday, Sept. 21. The category 1 hurricane hit Puerto Rico five years after Hurricane Maria and caused renewed flooding, mudslides and power blackouts for more than 80% of the island’s population.
AmeriCorps is coordinating with Federal Emergency Management Agency and Puerto Rico Commission for Volunteerism and Community Service, deploying alongside Department of Homeland Security, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Health & Human Services, Department of Energy and the American Red Cross, among others to assess and begin recovery efforts. In early October, 82 AmeriCorps members serving with AmeriCorps NCCC and SBP arrived in Puerto Rico to support disaster relief logistics, planning and mass care. The members also are conducting wellness checks with affected community members, assessing damage in the hardest hit regions of the island, and distributing relief supplies to residents and direct service organizations.
Expertly trained crews, the AmeriCorps Disaster Response teams regularly serve in national disaster response efforts by supporting shelter operations, call centers, volunteer and donation management, muck and gut operations, blue-roof tarping and debris cleanup, among other services. AmeriCorps members serving with SBP and nine FEMA Corps teams are supporting disaster relief efforts and will contribute approximately 20,000 hours of service.
“AmeriCorps members and volunteers represent the heart and soul of who we are as Americans by helping communities repair and rebuild after devastating disasters,” said AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith. “Long after the cameras leave, our teams will still be on the ground helping communities with disaster relief efforts. We will continue to work alongside our federal partners, national service counterparts, and local partners to aid the people of Puerto Rican during this challenging time.”
Following a disaster, national service acts as a force multiplier, providing key resources and significantly expanding the capacity of existing organizations on the ground. AmeriCorps programs like NCCC are often involved in disaster recovery for many months to years after the initial disaster. Since 2017, AmeriCorps has had more than 110 NCCC teams on the ground in Puerto Rico to help communities rebuild after Hurricane Maria. From forest fires and floods to hurricanes and tornadoes, to terror attacks and oil spills, AmeriCorps members have provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by disasters since 1994.
AmeriCorps urges anyone who wants to get involved to seek volunteer opportunities following the disaster. For those interested in national service opportunities in emergency management, visit AmeriCorps.Gov/Serve. To learn more about AmeriCorps disaster response, visit AmeriCorps.Gov/DisasterServices.