I was part of a 2-hour conference call with our partners in Puerto Rico and with people from Valley Forge this afternoon.. They shared with us some of the latest numbers from the Hurricane. Here are some of them as of October 16:
- 90% are still without electric power.
- 40 % still do not have water, and those that do are not sure if it is contaminated or not.
- 22 Baptist churches were totally destroyed.
- 26 churches had significant damage.
- 5 Baptist schools were badly damaged.
- The seminary was badly damaged. The chapel and classrooms were destroyed, and the library and administrative offices were badly damaged.
- The region office had $80,000 worth of damage.
- The Las Cruces office had $60,000 in damages.
- There is trouble filing with FEMA because it has to be done online, and many have no power or internet.
Good News: So far $80,000 of goods and money have been sent to Puerto Rico. A container ship with 500 tarps, 22,5000 hygiene kits, 2,550 school kits and 1,800 tubes of toothpaste departed on the 17th. So far about $122,000 has been given to OGHS.
Another development has been that many people in Puerto Rico are deciding to move to the mainland. They are estimating that around 500,000 will give up living there to come to the states, with many of them ending up in Florida or New York. Many pastors and churches are being overwhelmed with all that has taken place. One pastor will probably lose a good part of the congregation as they have decided to leave the country.
Please keep the churches, pastors and leaders of the region of Puerto Rico in your prayers. We will keep you updated as we get more information. One of our own pastors, Ben Manso, will be making a trip there soon to see how things are. Ben has many family members still living there. We will wait to hear from him as to how we should best respond. We will send more information soon.
Let it flow!