Western Union and the Western Union Foundation have responded to assist recovery efforts in the wake of hundreds of earthquakes that have rocked Puerto Rico since late December.
The two organisations committed a combined USD $50,000 to the American Red Cross to support their efforts to provide emergency care, family assistance and supplies in response to the earthquakes. The Western Union Foundation will also match employee donations 2:1, up to $5,000 through Feb. 13, 2020.
Western Union is also offering fee-free donations to the American Red Cross through its money transfer platform at westernunion.com and through the Western Union® mobile app. Those wishing to help can visit an agent location service counter and send money using ‘American Red Cross’ as the ‘Pay To’ recipient and ‘PREARTHQUAKERELIEF’ as the Account Number. They can also go to ‘Pay Bills’ on wu.com, using the same information.
According to the American Red Cross, Puerto Rico’s southern coast has experienced more than 1,200 “small” earthquakes since December 28. On Tuesday, Jan. 7, the island’s southwest coast was hit by the “mainshock,” a magnitude 6.4—the most potent to hit the island in a century. The mainshock damaged more than 500 structures, triggering power shutdowns and forcing more than 5,000 people to flee their homes.
Another large quake, a magnitude 5.8 on Jan. 11, caused new damage and set back efforts to restore power and water service to affected parts of the island.
Among the most damaged parts of Puerto Rico was Yauco barrio-pueblo, in the southwest part of the island. Nine employees of the Mr. Special supermarket there, a Western Union agent, are confirmed so far to have lost their homes in the disaster. Western Union and the American Red Cross are working with Mr. Special to help the affected employees.
Western Union and the Western Union Foundation have a history of recent relief help for the Island: In 2017, the two teamed up to provide assistance for efforts following Hurricane Maria. During which Western Union airlifted cash and satellite phones into Puerto Rico to quickly restore agent network operations and support the community.