Displaying items by tag: Puerto Rico
On 14 September a tropical depression at the Leeward Islands became Hurricane Fiona, the first Category 4 hurricane of 2022. It triggered widespread flooding and mudslides across Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Turks and Caicos, reaching Bermuda on the 22nd. Next it will pound Canada with damaging winds, flooding rain, storm surges, and coastal flooding. Serious threats are expected even if Fiona transitions into a non-tropical low: it could be one of the region's strongest storms in modern records. Pray for Puerto Rico, still without power and with over 450,000 still without water on 22 September. Pray for those repairing homes and infrastructure including collapsed highways, mudslides and blocked roads from uprooted trees and pylons. Pray for those preparing and delivering food rations, the injured, and those in mourning. May there be no diseases from standing stagnant water. Pray for farmers whose crops are ruined, and for all the rescue teams.
On 7 December Puerto Rico was hit by the worst earthquake to hit the island in 102 years. By 9 December two-thirds of the island was still without power. The earthquake knocked out the main generating facility and damaged other infrastructure. Six months after Hurricane Maria in 2017, many Puerto Ricans still had no electricity: even now, a quarter of the island has no running water. The 6.4 magnitude quake and 6.0 aftershock destroyed 300 homes. A 73-year-old man is the only confirmed death to date. Thousands are still sleeping outside or in their cars, fearful of being indoors during another quake. Governor Wanda Vazquez declared a state of emergency, activating the island's National Guard to help with recovery efforts. Pray for the hospitals, the vulnerable, the elderly, families and businesses among the three million people without power. Pray for the islanders, still recovering from Hurricane Maria (which killed nearly 3,000), and now coping with destruction and further disruption of their lives.
Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela have colossal crime rates which undermine growth, threaten human welfare, and impede social development, according to the UN and World Bank. The region registers 40% of the world’s murders despite having only 9% of the global population. One in four Latin Americans was assaulted and robbed in 2018. Wealthy Brazilians have to provide their own security. Pray for the church and the police to bring security and peace to Brazil’s vulnerable population. Massive street marches in Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil protesting against violence have made it difficult for politicians to avoid dealing with the issue and, in many countries, tackling crime is a central theme in political party platforms across the region. Pray for God to raise up strong, wise men and women with God’s anointing to lead the countries back to His purposes.
Category 4 Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico in September 2017 and paved the way for revival. Puerto Rican George Santiago returned from the US in summer 2017. Two months later Hurricane Maria turned the mountain stream into a raging river, the town was in shambles without access to food or water, the people were paralysed. Through Southern Baptists, he provided food, water and even washing machines. People asked him ‘Why are you doing this?' His answer included sharing the Gospel. Since the storm, at least 50 people have come to Christ and Santiago has started what he calls a ‘baby church’ for new believers. It's all evidence of God's master plan at work. ‘He placed us in Puerto Rico at the right moment, the perfect moment for a church to give birth,’ he said. Santiago is not alone. Maria has paved the way for enormous spiritual growth in the region.
Puerto Rico has been in a painful recession since 2006; previous governments dug it deeper into debt by borrowing to pay operating expenses, year after year. For the last two years, officials have been seeking assistance from Washington, testifying before stern congressional committees and even before the supreme court. In May, with creditors at its heels and its coffers depleted, it sought what is essentially bankruptcy relief in federal court, the first time in history that an American state or territory has taken this extraordinary measure, because of a $123 billion debt. Government workers are foregoing pension money; public health and infrastructure projects are not happening because of the crushing weight of debt. Now, Hurricane Maria has ripped through Puerto Rico, causing potentially thirty billion dollars in damage and threatening to exacerbate the population exodus that has helped push the island into bankruptcy. See