Team Rubicon’s first wave of volunteers arrived in Puerto Rico today to assist with disaster relief efforts on the island devastated by Hurricane Fiona. Already, the disaster response nonprofit has more than 80 active volunteers—known as Greyshirts—in Puerto Rico, several of whom are helping lead the effort.
As of Tuesday evening, less than 20% of the island had electricity and 55% percent of Puerto Ricans were without water. “This is even bigger than it looks,” says Team Rubicon CEO Art delaCruz. “Any disaster that knocks out an entire power grid is a very big deal.”
The first dozen Greyshirts from the Continental U.S. are engaged in recon and establishing operating locations, then will begin assisting with recovery efforts. The organization expects to begin deploying numerous other Greyshirts soon.
The deployment to Puerto Rico is not the veteran-led humanitarian aid organization’s first trip to the island: It responded to Hurricane Maria in 2017. Greyshirts then returned in 2018 to help with rebuild and recovery efforts, putting new roofs on 512 homes.