January 31, 2020

Relief and Recovery Efforts: Puerto Rico Earthquakes

The AbbVie Foundation provides $200,000 for disaster recovery to International Medical Corps and Feeding America.
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Photo credit: International Medical Corps

In early January, Puerto Rico suffered the most powerful earthquake to have hit the island in more than 100 years, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake. Since that time, more than 1,000 tremors and aftershocks have left Puerto Ricans reeling. A state of emergency is in effect for all of Puerto Rico. Many families in those municipalities lost or suffered structural damages to their homes, while some remain without electricity and access to potable water.

The AbbVie Foundation is providing $200,000 to two of our nonprofit partners, International Medical Corps and Feeding America. The support for International Medical Corps provides shelters with much needed supplies, including canopies, hygiene kits, blankets, cots and medications. They’re also providing mental health and psychosocial services. Feeding America is providing food and water to those living in shelters as well as running food banks across the island.

“AbbVie’s generous and swift support is helping to bring urgently needed healthcare and supplies to the people in Puerto Rico who need it most,” said Nancy Aossey, president and CEO of International Medical Corps. “AbbVie’s longstanding commitment is essential to helping families and communities recover.”

AbbVie’s assistance to International Medical Corps and Feeding America complements a $100 million donation made to Direct Relief and Habitat for Humanity International in May 2018 for recovery from Hurricanes Maria and Irma. Since that time, Direct Relief has been preparing for future disasters by installing solar panels on health care centers, enabling access to clean water and deploying mobile medical units.

"As devastating as the recent earthquakes have been, the consequences could have been much more dire, as Hurricane Maria proved," said Ivonne Rodriguez-Wiewall, Direct Relief's Senior Advisor in Puerto Rico. "The fact that power was maintained in health centers, and in communities that rely on power-dependent systems to pump water meant that, unlike during and after Maria, medical stocks weren’t lost, health services could be delivered, and water was available to communities that otherwise would have been cut off. AbbVie made many of these resiliency efforts possible, and Direct Relief is deeply grateful for the company's support."

Through AbbVie’s donation to Habitat, repair and construction for homes damaged during the hurricanes have been ongoing in multiple communities, with many homes repaired to date. These repairs have included hurricane-resilient building practices.

The AbbVie Foundation also matches employee donations made to relief organizations, including those listed above.