In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the Government of Mexico generously reached out to the United States to offer life-saving and life-sustaining assistance to survivors in Puerto Rico. Even as Mexico was recovering from several disasters of its own, Mexican authorities worked closely with FEMA’s International Affairs Division to determine what assistance was most urgent for Puerto Rico. The Government of Mexico committed $100,000 for the purchase of humanitarian aid, and also dispatched Mexican experts to support recovery efforts.
September saw Mexico struck by two hurricanes, Katia and Max, as well as two major earthquakes. Together these disasters caused hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and widespread destruction across Mexico. Even while carrying out extensive response and recovery efforts at home, the Government of Mexico nevertheless reached out to support survivors in Puerto Rico.
Based on early reports of the destruction of the electric grid across the island, Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission dispatched a team of six experts in electrical generation, transmission systems and distribution system design to assist in restoring Puerto Rico’s power supply. Arriving shortly after the storm, they worked closely with the Puerto Rico Electrical Power Authority (PREPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop a strategy for system restoration. A summary report with six key recommendations was submitted to the Government of Puerto Rico before the team’s return to Mexico.
As reports of the dire situation surrounding food and water across most of the island began to surface, Mexico offered to provide bottled water to survivors. The Government of Mexico contracted with a local U.S. supplier on Puerto Rico to purchase over 10,000 bottles of water. Mexico donated the water to FEMA, which distributed it to disaster survivors in cooperation with voluntary organizations on island, as well as the Puerto Rico Department of Families.
The Government of Mexico also purchased $7,000.00 in insect repellant to address public health concerns that arose following the storm. The repellant was purchased in Miami, Florida and handed over to FEMA. The Puerto Rico Department of Health received the repellant for distribution across the island in the most heavily impacted areas.
FEMA is grateful to the Government of Mexico for its support to survivors in Puerto Rico. Mexico’s offers of assistance will not be forgotten.