CMU Student takes on aiding Hurricane-torn Puerto Rico

On September 20, 2017 Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, a category 5 hurricane that devastated the island and its people. Rosana Guernica, a junior at Carnegie Mellon from Puerto Rico decided to put thoughts into action after receiving messages from friends, family, and acquaintances on the ground who were without basic necessities such as drinkable water.

During the first few weeks after Hurricane Maria hit, Guernica saw the loss of people she had known first hand due to dehydration, infection, and an inability to receive the proper and immediate medical attention they needed such as their dialysis treatment. By the time normal distribution channels for supplies open, it will be too late for the people who needed it the most.

 CMU student, Rosana Guernica (right), takes on Puerto Rico relief efforts by bringing supplies into the island and flying patients in need out for help. Photographed by José López Sánchez.

CMU student, Rosana Guernica (right), takes on Puerto Rico relief efforts by bringing supplies into the island and flying patients in need out for help. Photographed by José López Sánchez.

Guernica began raising money to charter private planes to fly to Puerto Rico, taking supplies there and bringing back patients still in need of medical care. On November 18, 2017, Guernica and her team will be off on their fourth trip to Puerto Rico along with 28,000 pounds of medicine and medical supplies to set up medical clinics in Vieques, Puerto Rico, as well as in the interior parts of the island that have yet to receive assistance during this crisis. On the return flight, they plan to evacuate 130 patients who are still in dire need of immediate and proper medical attention.

Through their three previous trips, Guernica and her team have delivered a total of 18,500 pounds of relief aid to the island, and evacuated a total of 84 patients.

 CMU students' relief efforts bring much needed supplies into Hurricane-torn Puerto Rico. Photographed by José López Sánchez.

CMU students' relief efforts bring much needed supplies into Hurricane-torn Puerto Rico. Photographed by José López Sánchez.

We salute Guernica and her team for aiding Puerto Rico with much needed action and empathy. In 2016, The United Nations reports an unprecedented record of 65.6 million people worldwide experienced displacement by natural disaster, climate change, conflict, violence, human rights violations, and more. The growing, pressing public issue of human displacement makes our current socially engaged art exhibition - Shelter: Crafting a Safe Home, a relevant exploration through the lens of craft. Shelter encourages the community to think about creative solutions and start the conversations on the topics of homelessness and housing insecurity globally and locally.