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PAST
PROJECTS

ViequesLove’s mission was initially an emergency relief effort. Unexpectedly, we quickly raised more than $1.5 million and successfully secured a wide variety of in-kind supplies and services of almost equal value. When it became clear that almost no essential and coordinated disaster relief was forthcoming from any level of government, ViequesLove began working collectively with other not-for-profits and motivated individuals on the island and elsewhere to ameliorate the island's abandonment.

Disaster response .

The Aftermath of Hurricane Maria

ViequesLove formed on the night of Hurricane Maria out of love and dedication to the island where we live. Although we had no experience with disaster relief, we knew what the obstacles would be in providing the things that would be needed most. Local knowledge of logistics, community leaders, medical situations, and service providers allowed us to act quickly and efficiently.

Emergency 

  • Supplied gas for emergency and police vehicles

  • Supported satellite WI-FI, allowing critical food stamp and ATM systems to function

  • Purchased gas for private flights delivering supplies

  • Provided Satellite phones to communicate with the ground team

  • Set up satellite phone call centers for residents to communicate with loved ones

  • Provided the neighboring island of Culebra with one Satellite phone

  • Attracted more media attention to Vieques

  • Advocated to suspend the Jones Act

  • Collaborated with elected officials on the delivery of gas and diesel fuel

  • Purchased lights to be installed on the Ferry Dock, Cayo and Rompeolas to ensure the safety of vessels traveling at night

Critical Needs

  • Supplied numerous solar lights, tarps, tents, solar radios, and water filters

  • Purchased building supplies for homes in dire need and collaborated with volunteers to help those who could not help themselves

  • Collaborated with other nonprofits to bring generators, supplies, solar equipment, medicines, water filters and critical volunteers to the island

  • Acquired, transported and distributed over 120 pallets of goods to churches, organizations and agencies to prepare for storm season.

  • Purchased new mattresses to replace water damaged and moldy mattresses

  • Purchased equipment to supply internet in schools to assist teachers and administrators

  • Provided emergency needs for schools such as paint, cisterns, window screens, construction, cleaning and first aid supplies and generators

Food Water 

  • Supplied food and water to community groups distributing across the island

  • Supported the Food Bank of Puerto Rico so they could continue to bring food to Vieques

  • Provided ongoing support to groups supplying daily hot meals and food to barrios in need

  • Distributed water filters and life straws provided as in-kind donations to ViequesLove

  • Provided cisterns to high school

  • Provided generators and pumps to the water company

  • Provided logistical and financial support to bring atmospheric water evaporation to Vieques

  • Supplied water to community groups distributing across the island

  • Purchased pumps for the sewage treatment plant and Aquaductos

Economy & Support

  • Purchased parts to connect generators to gas supply

  • Funded generator technicians, labor and parts keeping critical generators on the island running

  • Purchased parts and oil to keep critical larger scale generators running

Medical Assitance

  • Supplied medicine to the hospital

  • Supplied health and hygiene products to the elderly and infirm

  • Purchased insulin coolers for diabetics

  • Supplied 73 in-kind solar generators to sick and elderly patients requiring life support medical machinery

  • Supplied 60 gas generators to needy residents or those requiring medical machinery

  • Purchased exit flights for patients in dire medical need

  • Purchased flights for dialysis patients to receive treatment in Puerto Rico

Power

  • Provided local knowledge and translation services to Tesla and other solar groups

  • Collaborated with COE for necessary emergency response

  • Worked with local group to advocate for generators and power response

  • Went to Washington D.C. to provide local knowledge of power situation to elected officials

One Year of Recovery

Expenditures September 20, 2017 –  December 15, 2018

192 

Generators

20

NGOs Supported

14

Supply Planes

9

Satellite Phones

33

Medically Evacuated

13

Dialysis Patients Served

 

water for schools .

Long Term Sustainability

ViequesLove is beginning research of the conditions, both of quality and quantity, of the underground water reserves that exist in the island. We believe that through a sustainable use, this groundwater could be enough to satisfy the Vieques population needs during emergencies; and together with a rainwater collection project in homes and buildings, could become a powerful tool for self-reliance of the island’s people.

2019

2017

2021

  • During the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, ViequesLove provided essential support to keep the water flowing to households and schools with the purchase of pumps, generators and technicians to service equipment.

  • With schools reopening, we provided nine schools with emergency backup water cisterns that provide emergency water in event of a shortage or a break in service as well as serve the island as additional water capacity during an island-wide outage. This project could not have been accomplished without the help of Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services and our donors.

  • In the height of the Covid 19 Pandemic schools remain closed, and virtual learning has taken place. Water cisterns remain active and functional, allowing schools to be a safe haven during emergencies.

Further School Support

  • ViequesLove provided cleaning supplies, paint, paper products, office supplies, first aid kits, generators and cisterns to the schools on Vieques. Ongoing initiatives will help to set up internet libraries, supply ceiling fans, and install lights on the high-school basketball court.

  • Equipment was purchased for non profit GenerationGives and local internet provider Fire-Fi to install internet in all schools in Vieques after the storm.

  • Lights were purchased and installed at the outdoor courts at the high school enabling students to have evening sports or activities.

  • Built and installed window screens at Playa Grande school to allow fresh air ventilation in the classrooms that had no air conditioning.

Communication.

Emergency Ready

Vieques lost all communication with the outside world after Hurricane Maria wiped out our infrastructure. That will never happen again thanks to a network initiated and supported by ViequesLove and facilitated by a collaboration of other organizations. This communication network includes Satellite phones, Garmins, HAM, UHF, VHF, HF, & marine radios, and satellite internet phones ready to employ if needed.

Emergency Management 
Antenna 

  • Thanks to a collaborative effort the Office of Emergency Management, Sail Relief, Mountain Communications, and the Municipal government, a solar powered antenna now provides connection island-wide.

  • For the first time in Vieques history Emergency Management on the north side of the island can communicate with the south side of the island thanks to this antenna.

VHF Radio 
Communication Web

  • ViequesLove purchased 28 VHF short wave radios for a communications program initiated by Que Fe Transforma

  • The radios were distributed to agencies and Vieques fishermen who were some of the first responders after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

  • VHF Radios  provide a means of communication between groups and individuals on Vieques when cell towers are inoperable.

  • With the assistance of the Vieques Radio Club, we procured and installed a radio communications hub in Isabel II and a repeater mid island.

HAM Radio 
Communication
Web

  • 25 Radios, 2 base stations, 2 portable units and two antennas were purchased to establish an island wide net of certified operators with equipment.

  • ViequesLove purchased the text books for the certification course and flew instructors  from Puerto Rico to teach the course.

  • HAM Radio enables the operators to talk to another radio afficianado anywhere in the world ensuring that Vieques will never be without communication to the outside world in the event of another storm that can potentially disable cell towers, land lines and internet.

 

Mitigating Risk

Important lessons were learned from Hurricane Maria for resilience and preparedness. We continue our efforts to increase sustainability: 

Asset Mapping

As history shows, Vieques cannot expect outside assistance during emergencies and must develop the capacity to fend for itself. In order to become resilient and effectively manage our island assets, we require a moderately robust system to allow government, emergency, and NGO personnel access to appropriate critical information. 

Street Naming

Over 200 streets on Vieques do not have official names, hindering emergency response and disaster relief efforts. The project, Vieques Nombra Sus Calles, provides and coordinates a participatory mechanism utilizing Viequense historians and door-to-door canvassers to assist residents in selecting names that reflect the culture, history, and ecology of their location and the island.

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