SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — University of Rhode Island (URI) alumnus, Francisco San Miguel, and his family were just a few people in Puerto Rico left with no running water, electricity or transportation following Hurricane Maria, which hit the island on Sept. 20.
Now, Miguel is working to turn the devastation brought by Hurricane Maria into awareness.
In hopes of rebuilding his native island, San Miguel has reached out to URI in hopes that people will also want to help.
San Miguel is an environmentalist and is heartbroken by the destruction Hurricane Maria brought to animals and Puerto Rico’s landscape. He wrote about how the island is home to many stray dogs and since the hurricane hit, stray dogs are nowhere to be found.
“Their stark absence is a chilling, daily reminder of the death and destruction afflicted upon animal life on the island,” San Miguel wrote.
San Miguel is the owner of a pest control company named Termite Master Caribe. His family was lucky to not be harmed by the hurricane, but his wife, Sophia, and his son, Sebastian, have lost their jobs due to the damage.
“The desperation and misery among our United States citizens in Puerto Rico is tragic, he wrote “People on every square inch of this island have either lost their homes entirely or have had them damaged. There are so many stories, so many tears, so much hurt. It has tattooed my soul.”
As the owner of a pest control company, San Miguel is also worried that flooding brought on from the hurricane will increase mosquito-borne diseases, as these waters are the ideal breeding conditions.
“Our clients were astonishingly appreciative of seeing us and thankful like never before,” San Miguel wrote. “Now we repeat that our service is 50-percent personal relations, 50-percent pest control; that i learned at URI.”San Miguel is using his visits with clients as a way not to conduct business, but to help the clients rebuild and recover.
URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies will be hosting an event, Peace for Puerto Rico, on Nov. 16, to benefit hurricane relief efforts.
San Miguel also suggested some charities involved in disaster relief for anyone who wants to donate:
- Connect Relief
- Hispanic Federation
- World Vision
- The American Red Cross
- Amigos de los Animales Puerto Rico
- Para la Naturaleza