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Operation Agua: AFSCME, Coalition Partners to Provide Clean Water to Puerto Rico

Photo courtesy Operation Agua
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By AFSCME Staff Worth the Fight Good and Welfare

More than a month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, nearly 1 million Americans (of the 3.5 million who live on the island) still have no drinking water. In a sign of how desperate the situation is, residents have resorted to collecting water from contaminated waterways, runoff and even toxic sites.

AFSCME members and coalition partners are doing something about it. We joined with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Operation Blessing International and the Hispanic Federation to kick off Operation Agua, an effort to provide safe drinking water to families across Puerto Rico.

Operation Agua is an effort to provide safe drinking water to families across Puerto Rico
Operation Agua is an effort to provide safe drinking water to families across Puerto Rico. (Photo courtesy Operation Blessing)

This coalition brings together relationships with manufacturers, experience providing clean water across the globe, partnerships with shipping and transport workers and corporations, and access to a regional and school-based infrastructure across the island to deliver clean water to people.

“Public service workers are tirelessly struggling to rebuild their communities throughout Puerto Rico, but have not received the support they need from Washington to get the job done,” said AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders. “AFSCME is proud to join this effort and calls on Congress and the president to listen to the cries for help from their own citizens. The people of Puerto Rico cannot be left behind.”

Operation Agua’s initial goal is to purchase and distribute 100,000 individual water filtration systems for households and classrooms, and 50 large-capacity clean-water devices to a network of nonprofit organizations, union offices, schools and other community-based groups.

A $30 contribution will buy an in-home purifier that requires no electricity and provides more than 10 gallons of safe water per day to a family. One hundred percent of contributions to Operation Agua go to fund the purchasing and delivery of water filtration and purification systems.

AFSCME members have rallied to help their sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico, as well as Texas and Florida residents affected during one of the worst Atlantic hurricane seasons in recent memory.

Since late August, when Hurricane Harvey struck Texas, 1,755 donors raised $90,205 online to help victims of Harvey and Hurricanes Irma and Maria. AFSCME leaders, officers, locals and councils have kicked in tens of thousands of dollars on top of that.

Give Today

AFSCME members can help families in Puerto Rico by contributing to our Fallen Heroes Fund.

Click here to contribute.