Puerto Rico aid — Mennonite Hospital

 

 

 

 

Puerto Rico aid — Mennonite Hospital

Destruction at Betania Mennonite School near AibonitoMany of you are aware of the devastating destruction caused by hurricanes Irma and especially Maria on the island of Puerto Rico. Mennonites have a significant history of mission and service on the island, particularly in healthcare. The Mennonite name is known on the island most specifically through Hospital Menonita which started in Aibonito but which now has facilities in at least eight other communities in the center of the island. This “Mennonite Health System” is now is the largest institution belonging to Mennonite Health Services (MHS) Alliance. 

Response to date

Rick Stiffney, President/CEO of MHS, has been in conversation with Kevin King, director of Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) working to assess the situation there. What is known is that the base hospital in Aibonito has been damaged, but it is unknown whether and to what extent the hospital is functioning. There have been reports on PBS that the town of Aibonito has a shortage of potable water. 

Assessment Team

Next week, a team of bilingual Mennonite healthcare leaders including a doctor, a psychologist, and an administrator are planning to travel to the island to assess the situation and determine if the presence of medical and/or mental health workers from the mainland would be helpful. MHS is also putting together an advisory group that will include at least one representative from MHF to receive and hear a report and determine next steps. 

Volunteers may be needed

Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship is cooperating with Mennonite Health Services to coordinate any interest among North American healthcare workers in volunteering in Puerto Rico should that need materialize. Any interested persons should contact Deloris Rhodes, who is administrative assistant for both organizations.

Donations

A mechanism to accept donations to support this specific effort will be announced later. 

In the meantime, persons wishing to donate to the general MDS response should read this article on The Mennonite website. There are links at the bottom for donations or volunteering toward the general MDS effort on the island as well as other areas affected by the recent hurricanes.

Prayers

Pray for the people of Puerto Rico as they deal with the massive clean-up and recovery effort. 
Pray that aid would arrive quickly in order to prevent hunger and disease and save lives.
Pray for the assessment team as they travel next week to listen and observe the situation. 
Pray for wisdom to know how we on the North American mainland can respond in ways that are genuinely helpful and supportive.

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