With President Trump and the mayor of San Juan in a war of words this weekend over the relief efforts in hurricane-battered Puerto Rico and a stream of harrowing images coming out of the island and its neighbors in the Caribbean, it’s easy to feel gloomy about the response to the disaster.
But while dysfunction and ugly politics have been capturing the headlines, companies and celebrities have been mobilizing to aid Puerto Rico. Many of them have been making a ruckus on behalf of those suffering without power, clean water, or access to medical care, but at least one big name has been keeping his efforts relatively quiet–Elon Musk.
Bringing power back to Puerto Rico
With the entirety of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid down and some places expected to be without electricity for months, residents of the island are in desperate need of alternative sources of power. That’s something Musk’s Tesla knows plenty about, and thankfully for Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million residents, the company is happy to help.
“As soon as the storm passed, Tesla began sending hundreds of Powerwall battery systems that can be paired with solar panels to the devastated island in an effort to restore electric power there,” reports Fortune, “and the shipments of Powerwall battery systems are continuing.”
There are also Tesla employees on the ground helping install the systems, the article goes on to report, and Musk himself personally donated $250,000 to the relief effort. Some even see the possibility of a small silver lining in these efforts, suggesting that the devastation of the traditional power grid could provide Puerto Rico with an opportunity to build a more sustainable system.
It should also be noted that Musk and Tesla, while providing a characteristically innovative response to the disaster, are far from the only big companies lending aid. Lots of other businesses, from Starbucks to Facebook, are also donating to the relief efforts.
“With 90 percent of cell towers on the island out of service, people can’t get in touch with their loved ones–and it’s harder for rescue workers to coordinate relief efforts. We’re working to get Puerto Rico back online. We’re sending the Facebook connectivity team to deliver emergency telecommunications assistance to get the systems up and running,” Mark Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post, for instance.
Want to do your own bit to help Puerto Ricans pick up the pieces after Hurricane Maria? Here are some of the best charities to donate to, according to charity rating site Charity Navigator.