September 29, 2017
Cooper University Health Care has offered to send medical personnel and supplies to Puerto Rico, where recovery efforts are ongoing after Hurricane Maria devastated the island earlier this month.
Cooper is working with FEMA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to send much-needed supplies as well as a team of physicians, nurses and other health care professionals.
George E. Norcross III, chairman of Cooper's board of trustees, and his family have offered to cover the estimated $100,000 cost to transport the supplies and medical support team to the U.S. territory.
"The people of Puerto Rico are enduring terrible suffering and in need of support and medical assistance as a result of Hurricane Maria," said Lexie Norcross, president of the Norcross Foundation and a member of the Cooper Foundation Board of Trustees. "Nearly 30 percent of the population of the city of Camden, Cooper's home city, is from Puerto Rico, and we want to help them, and their family members still on the island, who are suffering and in need of medical care."
Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on Sept. 20, bringing sustained winds of up to 155 mph and dumping more than 40 inches of rain in some parts.
The death toll officially stands at 16 people, but that number is expected to rise, possibly into the hundreds.
Gov. Ricardo Rossello has urged Congress to approve an aid package, saying the island faces a humanitarian crisis.
More than one week after the storm hit, many hospitals still lack power. The commonwealth's electricity and telecoms infrastructure were destroyed.
The Cooper Foundation also is running a fundraising campaign to assist the Caribbean island. Anyone who would like to contribute can donate to the Puerto Rico fund on the foundation's website.
The donations will be sent directly to Puerto Rico and distributed to the United for Puerto Rico Foundation and the Salvation Army in Puerto Rico.
Full disclosure: PhillyVoice Founder and CEO Lexie Norcross serves on the Cooper Foundation board of trustees. She is president of the Norcross Foundation, and her father, George E. Norcross III, is the chairman of the board of trustees of Cooper University Hospital.