Giving Compass’ Take:
• The authors explain how renewable energy sources can help places like Puerto Rico strengthen resilience planning against natural disasters.
• How can you support resilience planning for natural disasters while taking into account the significant disruptions brought on by COVID-19?
• Learn what COVID-19 reveals about humanitarian aid.
Puerto Ricans are facing new and ongoing threats to health, safety, and the economy, including those that stem from the spread of Covid-19. The deadly global pandemic has brought widespread economic disruption, all while the medical system continues to recover from recent shocks. Many in Puerto Rico lack homes or safe places due to ongoing earthquakes including a 5.4 magnitude tremor that shook the island earlier this spring, destroying buildings and again knocking out power. With warmer water temperatures and hurricane season upon us, the potential impact of overlapping disasters can cause deep anxiety among citizens.
Laudably, Puerto Rico moved quickly to lock down public activity due to Covid-19 while continuing to manufacture essential medical supplies and expedite stimulus for vulnerable individuals. With numerous vaccines, medicines, and critical medical equipment produced on the island, Puerto Ricans drive the national response to Covid-19. Nonprofit groups and businesses have found ways to support those without work and protect public safety. The community spirit needed to respond to these threats can be found everywhere one looks.
However, responding to these disasters and restarting the economy will also require an effective, efficient, and resilient power grid. During a lockdown, power becomes even more essential, keeping the lights on at essential businesses, medical equipment running at hospitals, and families connected for work and school at home, but limited progress has been achieved to strengthen the grid after Hurricane Maria. Power generation remains reliant on fossil fuels, electricity prices are volatile, and Puerto Ricans continue to experience persistent outages despite paying high rates. And recent choices for the power system could create new risks, while missing an opportunity for real resilience.
Read the full article about renewable energy by Ashvin Dayal, Javier Rúa Jovet, and Roy Torbert at The Rockefeller Foundation.
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