United for Puerto Rico in favor of Older Adults
Washington, D.C. October 2017.- The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), stands in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria which left more than 40 people dead, and at least 3 million without communications, electricity, and water.
After the declaration of a State of Emergency in 54 of the 78 Puerto Rican municipalities, the situation of Hispanic older adults is critical. According to the most recent official data, one in every 16 citizens in Puerto Rico is an older adult, which translates to more than 574,000 people. 40 percent of this population was living in extreme poverty, even before Maria.
NHCOA, honoring its mission to protect and improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide all the support needed for this vulnerable population.
NHCOA has been working along Telemundo, Washington, DC and the Washington, D.C Metropolitan Police Department to collect food, water and first need items making sure older adults are not forgotten.
On September 26th, NHCOA released to Congress its annual report on the Status of Hispanic Adults. Taking advantage of the presence of Representatives and federal public health officials, Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President & CEO, filed a petition in favor of Puerto Rico, specifically for its older adult population, their families and caregivers.
“In situations like these, we really see what our priorities are. We raised our voice in the Capitol to remind and bring front of mind that natural disasters such as Maria, bring hardship and suffering to many, but especially the elderly, who in many cases are isolated, without a support system or family, and don’t possess the benefit of youth or good health to find their way through crisis. Do not give up! Latinos can do this and more!” said Dr. Cruz.