The University at Buffalo School of Law’s Puerto Rico Recovery Assistance Legal Clinic has a team on the frontlines in Puerto Rico as the island deals with the aftermath of recent earthquakes.
“We are looking to be of true service,” said Kim Diana Connolly, the clinic’s director.
This is the group’s fifth trip to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. This one was actually planned well before the deadly earthquakes struck, leaving them with no choice but to lend a hand once again.
“We went to the store and we bought things like adult diapers and wipes and we’ve been told there’s so many more needs that we didn’t get yet,” Connolly said.
Spectrum News interviewed the group after they made their way to Guanica, one of the hardest hit places. They’re offering supplies and providing legal work in hopes of building a stronger island.
“We are not here to save people, we are here to help them help themselves,” said Connolly.
“They need all the help they can get,” said Casimiro Rodriguez, a committee member of the Puerto Rico Earthquake Relief Fund.
Western New York organizations recently joined forces to form that organization to help with relief. Rodriguez is on the island surveying what needs to be met.
“When they see folks from outside Puerto Rico and from Western New York, they feel a sense of security, they feel a sense of someone’s coming here to help,” Rodriguez said.
The legal group plans to be in Puerto Rico for the remainder of this week.
“We’re going to be here to respond for access to justice, access to water, access to energy, access to food, and work with local communities and stakeholders to help them build up and become stronger than they are now,” said Octavio Villegas, a volunteer staff attorney and UB Law School alumnus.
If you want to help out, you can donate to the group’s crowdfunding campaign.