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AccuWeather Global Weather Center - November 6, 2017 - AccuWeather, a global leader in weather forecasts and warnings, is sending a team of employees to Puerto Rico November 5-8 to distribute urgently needed items to people in the town of Patillas, who are dealing with the impact of Hurricane Maria. The trip is intended to ensure that desperately needed aid gets directly into the hands of people hit hard by this year's extraordinary hurricane season.
Located in a remote southern part of the island, Patillas was one of the first towns affected when Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane. Because Patillas has no port access, it has been largely cut off from relief efforts and shipments of supplies, putting its more than 20,000 residents in a desperate situation with a scarcity of clean water, power, cell service, food staples, and other essentials.
In mid-October, as part of its "Rays of Hope" community service initiative, AccuWeather announced it would fill a shipping container at the company's Global Weather Center in State College, Pennsylvania, with life-saving supplies and staples. Norberto Soto Figueroa, the Mayor of Patillas, provided a list of items needed to help the people of his community begin to rebuild their lives.
"When we saw what the people affected by this storm were going through, our hearts went out to them," said Evan Myers, AccuWeather's Chief Operating Officer and Senior Meteorologist. "As a company that truly understands the impact of severe weather, we wanted to help provide relief where it would make a tangible difference in peoples' lives. But collecting items was just the first step - we want to ensure our donations reach the people who need them, so we are sending our own team to Patillas to make sure that happens."
AccuWeather is also sending a news crew, including extreme meteorologist Reed Timmer, to document and report on conditions on the ground in Puerto Rico.
AccuWeather employees and leadership volunteered their time and resources to gather, sort, and pack supplies into the shipping container. As news of the effort spread, the surrounding Centre County, Pennsylvania community responded by donating items on the list. After being packed full with goods including water, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, adult and children's clothing, electrical generators, and other requested items, the shipping container was picked up on October 25 by project partners NEMF (New England Motor Freight) and TOTE Shipping to begin its journey to the people of Patillas.
The shipment is expected to reach San Juan on November 7. The container of supplies then will be trucked across the island to Patillas. To ensure that the much-needed supplies reach the victims of the storm, the AccuWeather team is scheduled to arrive in Puerto Rico on November 5, and will be in Patillas when the container arrives on November 6 to assist with the distribution of relief items. All the supplies collected are essential and non-perishable to reduce risk of spoilage as the delivery makes its way from AccuWeather to the stricken town.
The supplies collected for the people of Patillas will help families stay clean and healthy, and help protect them from diseases and other ailments that can occur after the loss of equipment, infrastructure, fresh food, and access to safe water.
Aira Nelson, AccuWeather's Employee Benefits Manager, played a central role in organizing the relief effort and will oversee the company's team on the ground in Puerto Rico. Joining her, in addition to Timmer, will be Jesus Lopez, on-air meteorologist; and Lincoln Riddle, video producer.
"This AccuWeather Rays of Hope project showcases the great character and concern of our employees," said Elizabeth Soroka, Vice President, Human Resources at AccuWeather. "We are very proud of our staff and their compassion and enthusiasm to help the people of Puerto Rico. It is not surprising that such a talented, entrepreneurial group is taking this initiative to contribute time and resources to help those in need. Ultimately, we hope the great work we are doing inspires more volunteerism throughout corporate America."
The AccuWeather news team will spend two days in Patillas distributing aid and reporting on Maria's impact in the area. They also plan to meet with officials and local residents while in Puerto Rico, and will use interviews and footage collected as part of AccuWeather's ongoing coverage of post-hurricane impact.
About AccuWeather, Inc. and AccuWeather.com
Nearly 2 billion people worldwide rely on AccuWeather to help them plan their lives, protect their businesses, and get more from their day. AccuWeather provides hourly and Minute by Minute™ forecasts with Superior Accuracy™ with customized content and engaging video presentations available on smartphones, tablets, free wired and mobile Internet sites, connected TVs, and Internet appliances, as well as via radio, television, and newspapers. Established in 1962 by Founder, President, and Chairman Dr. Joel N. Myers - a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society who was recognized as one of the top entrepreneurs in American history by Entrepreneur Magazine's Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurs - AccuWeather also delivers a wide range of highly customized enterprise solutions to media, business, government, and institutions, as well as news, weather content, and video for more than 180,000 third-party websites. AccuWeather's CEO, Barry Lee Myers, is an award-winning leader in global weather information issues and one of the world's most recognized advocates for cooperative relationships between government weather agencies and the weather industry. He is a leader in the digital weather information space.
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