How to help victims of natural disasters

  • September 27, 2017
  • By Guest Blogger
  • 2 minute read

A message from Chancellor Wrighton to our Washington University community:

Twice since the beginning of the school year, I have reached out to you to express concern about hurricanes of historic proportions. Harvey and Irma dealt heavy blows, and many in Texas, Florida and the surrounding areas still are recovering. Incredibly, now, we are witnessing devastating destruction by two more natural calamities: Hurricane Maria that has left unfathomable hardship across the Caribbean — including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands — and the major earthquake in Mexico that already has taken more than 300 lives.

The needs are almost too great to comprehend.

In Puerto Rico, home to more than 3.5 million U.S. citizens, the situation is especially dire. According to news from the Puerto Rican leadership over the past few days, the damage is causing a humanitarian crisis with little electricity and power across much of the island, 60 percent of the residents without potable water, and many without basic food, shelter and access to medical care. It is gut-wrenching to see so many facing such a serious situation.

In addition to keeping in our thoughts those whose lives have been uprooted by these disasters, there are many ways to provide support to ongoing emergency response and relief efforts. Here, we provide just a few. The American Red Cross continues to be a strong partner in many of the affected areas. In Puerto Rico, First Lady Beatriz Rosselló has launched United for Puerto Rico to raise funds and solicit much-needed supplies. In Mexico, Global Giving is working to raise $2.5 million in aid for earthquake victims. And the One America Appeal, led by our five living former United States presidents, has expanded its scope to include the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Community is at the core of who we are at Washington University. We come together in difficult times and do what we can — each of us in our own way — to lend care and support. Our hearts go out to those in need of help.


Mark S. Wrighton

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