What damage does a Category 4 hurricane cause? The National Hurricane Center says “[With winds of 130-156mph (209-251 km/h)] catastrophic damage will occur. Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

“The devastation in Puerto Rico has set us back nearly 20 to 30 years,” Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez told the Associated Press. “I can’t deny that the Puerto Rico of now is different from that of a week ago. The destruction of properties, of flattened structures, of families without homes, of debris everywhere. The island’s greenery is gone.”

This home in Loíza was destroyed by the strong winds brought by Hurricane Maria. The category 4
hurricane tore through Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. Photo credit: FEMA/Yuisa Rios

Another result of the hurricane the threat of the Guajataca Dam breaking open and releasing 11 billion gallons of water over the surrounding area below.

“Abner Gomez, executive director of Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency, told the New York Post Friday that the dam’s floodgates suffered mechanical damage during the storm, which made it impossible for authorities to open and let out normal water currents. Gomez noted that ‘there is no way to fix it’ right now considering the conditions and said if the dam tops over or fails structurally, ‘thousands of people could die.’” (weather.com).

70,000 people in the communities surrounding the dam have been advised to evacuate. 

Please join World Renew in praying for the Lord’s hand to sustain the dam and for a solution to fix the damage.

How is World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) responding in Puerto Rico?

“We’ve had contact with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) personnel in both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and reached out to a Reformed Church in America in the U.S. Virgin Islands. From what we’ve heard from them and what we hear from social media there is already a lot of devastation and more to come,” said World Renew DRS Regional Managers, Len and Carrie Blauwkamp. “We will continue to stay connected to see if there are ways World Renew can help.”

World Renew DRS has provided services to Puerto Rico in the past including early assessment and reconstruction in the 90’s.


World Renew DRS regional managers are monitoring the situation, connecting with federal, national, and local personnel to begin determining how, when, and where to respond. Gifts designated for this response will be used to aid Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands in their hurricane recovery which can include building estimating, unmet needs assessments, home repairs, and more. To learn about the services World Renew offers, visit worldrenew.net/drs.

Donations can be made by 1) clicking the green donate button above, 2) calling a number below, 2) mailing a check with “Puerto Rico” in the memo line to an address at the bottom of this page. Thank you for your generous support.
HEADER IMAGE: The community of Miñi Miñi flooded after the Carraizo Dam released water, due to the overflow brought by Hurricane Maria. Photo credit: FEMA/Yuisa Rios