Information for U.S. Citizens Affected by Hurricane Maria

3 minutes read time
This, GOES-16 satellite image taken Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, at 14:45 UTC and provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows Hurricane Maria southeast of Puerto Rico.
This satellite image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows Hurricane Maria southeast of Puerto Rico.

Information for U.S. Citizens Affected by Hurricane Maria

**Updated September 27, 2017 at 09:00

Hurricane Maria brought significant rainfall and wind resulting in life-threatening flooding, mudslides, and storm surges across the Caribbean last week. Disruptions to travel and services continue throughout the path of the hurricane. U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been significantly affected, as well as U.S. citizens abroad in Dominica and other Caribbean islands.

U.S. Citizens Abroad

The Department of State issued an emergency alert regarding Hurricane Maria. For the most up-to-date information, including evacuation information from Dominica, please visit travel.state.gov

U.S. citizens abroad in the Caribbean should monitor the State Department’s Travel website, and ensure they are enrolled in the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program for updates.

U.S. Citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

The Federal Emergency Response Agency (FEMA) is leading the disaster response in the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. FEMA has set up a Hurricane Maria Resource Page, which includes a list of distribution centers where hurricane victims can receive immediate disaster assistance, including food and water.

To avoid disaster-related scams and to ensure you have the most accurate hurricane response information, you can also follow @FEMA on Twitter.

Providing Assistance to Hurricane Victims

FEMA recommends cash donations to trusted relief organizations. The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) is a trusted umbrella association of many of those organizations. National VOAD members including voluntary, non-profit, and faith-based organizations are working closely with the affected states and communities to assist by supporting with temporary roofing for disaster survivors.

Many voluntary agencies continue to provide services to disaster survivors, including providing shelter, meals, clean-up supplies, etc. For those who wish to help, go here: http://www.nvoad.org; cash donations offer voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover.

Stay Prepared for Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season continues until November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season ends November 30. For more information on actions to take when you are affected by a hurricane or for warning alerts and tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane go to Ready.gov.

Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium. com.