Puerto Rico’s southern shore has been rocked by hundreds of earthquakes since December 28, 2019, with the largest being a 6.4 on January 7, 2020. These quakes have caused significant damage to their energy supply, estimating a disruption in the Island’s electrical grid over the next year. Temporary shelter and power needs are expected to extend through 2020’s hurricane season.
While the epicenter of these quakes was typically around 8 miles offshore south of Guanica. These events were felt across the island and caused major structural damage to buildings in the region. One elderly man was killed in Ponce from a collapsing structure and 8 others were also injured. Electrical power was lost island-wide immediately after the 6.4 quake and was slowly restored across most of the island however the Costa Sur Power Plant near Ponce suffered extensive damage. This plant accounted for around 25% of the islands electricity and its repairs are estimated to take over a year to complete.
The Puerto Rican government opened 28 shelters around the SW region however tens of thousands of people camped outside of their homes or in impromptu camps due to fear of further structural collapse and some previous shelter locations being deemed structurally compromised from the quakes. Weeks later people remained in the camps, suffering from PTSD in fear of returning to their homes.
During this Assessment, we explored a partnership with Footprint Project to support their ongoing work to provide emergency solar energy to communities in need of resilient, rapidly deployable power and shelter systems.
Our Disaster Response Team (DRT) assisted in the installation and integration of portable emergency solar energy to six locations hit hard by the recent earthquakes. We also took this time to learn how to maintain the solar stations, and created a management system to collect data on usage, capacity, and efficiency. These six sites supported over 300 individuals who were otherwise without access to electricity. The solar stations powered refrigeration for medications, including insulin, powered critical medical equipment, and allowed families to recharge cell phones and computers.
During our recent three week assessment in Puerto Rico with our partner Footprint Project, we assisted in the installation and integration of portable emergency solar energy to six locations hit... Read More