I just returned from several days in Puerto Rico, where I saw firsthand the devastation and the tremendous need there. On most of the island, it looks like the storm happened just days ago.
When I met with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and asked what we could do, she requested help getting safe water to more people.
So, today, we launch Operation Agua, a new initiative of the AFT and our partners—including our local affiliate, the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico; Operation Blessing; the Hispanic Federation; and AFSCME—to bring water filters and purification systems to Puerto Rican families, classrooms and communities who need help.
When you contribute just $30, you give an in-home filter that purifies 10 gallons of water per day to a family in need. These units require no electricity, and a single filter can clean 5,000 liters of water.
I won’t sugarcoat it: The situation in Puerto Rico is dire. American citizens there are facing a massive humanitarian crisis.
More than a million people still lack running water; they are forced to find water in contaminated streams, collect it from runoff, even drink from toxic Superfund sites. And for those who do have running water, their tap water may be tainted with raw sewage because water treatment plants are still down.
We’re not wasting any time, but we need your help.
While we work to deliver filters to individual families, we are also focused on larger solutions. For $5,000, we can install the Sanilac-6 in a local community—a machine that uses salt and water to produce enough safe chlorine solution to disinfect up to 150,000 gallons per day.
This effort is powered by community-based infrastructure and volunteers from the Puerto Rican teachers’ union, the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico, supported by the expertise of our partner organizations like Operation Blessing, AFSCME and the Hispanic Federation, and made possible by the generosity of donors like you.
One hundred percent of your tax-deductible contribution will be used to fund filtration and purification systems for Puerto Ricans desperate for safe water—and, more than that, will provide hope and solidarity to many who feel abandoned.
You can make a huge difference—perhaps a life-or-death difference—for our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico. I hope you’ll join us to make Operation Agua a huge success.