Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Program Helping Hurricane Irma Refugees

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Our hearts go out to the people of Puerto Rico today, as they withstand the impact of Hurricane Maria. Yesterday, AT3 News and Tips received this wonderful story from Maria Miranda, Coordinator of the Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Program (PRATP). In the midst of surviving this historic hurricane season, PRATP has continued to play an essential role providing durable medical equipment to hurricane survivors, especially to refugees from the U.S.Virgin Islands. Miranda wrote to us, amidst widespread power outages, using the wi-fi she had found operational at a local elementary school. The Pass It On Center is coordinating with Delta Airlines to get a shipment of reuse durable medical equipment to Puerto Rico as soon as is feasible. Here is Maria Miranda’s story…

Hurricane-force winds hammered the Caribbean islands that are territories of Britain, France, the Netherlands and the United States, but not our desire to help our brothers and sisters. Their homes, hotels, hospitals, marinas and airports have been badly damaged. Puerto Rico responded to this humanitarian emergency, taking in thousands of refugees from the U.S. Virgin Islands whose homes were destroyed. The Government of Puerto Rico, in coordination with the Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Program (PRATP), worked as a team, to identify all assistive technology (AT) equipment needs for them. PRATP provided canes, walkers, bath chairs, commodes, wheelchairs and electric lifters at no cost to the refugees. Ada Delmira, a resident of St. Thomas, lost her walker during the hurricane, which was crucial for her need to stay as active as possible, even during her stay in Puerto Rico. PRATP donated to Ada a new walker for her to use, and with a big smile on her face, Ada said, “I love this walker! It’s lighter than the previous one.” For many of those most in need, AT Programs can make the difference in the aftermath of any natural catastrophe.

A woman Caribbean hurricane refugee with a walker receiving equipment assistance from two women in a conference center room.
Ada receives her gently-used walker


Disaster Relief Resources:

AACDisasterRelief.recovers.org is the portal for tracking communication equipment needs developed by USSAAC

Organizations with equipment to donate or with equipment needs: register for the AT/DME/Supplies Matching Portal by emailing carolyn.phillips@gatech.edu. Registering will allow you to enter the portal to get a match.

Interested in making a financial donation to PIOC’s disaster-relief effort? Visit this AMAC webpage