WXXI AM News

Helping the disability community in Puerto Rico

Oct 3, 2017

The Center for Disability Rights is partnering with a non-profit to get vital medical equipment to the disability community in Puerto Rico.

Director of Advocacy at the Center for Disability Rights, Stephane Woodward, says they're supporting Portlight Strategies efforts and has helped identify people who would be able to go to the territory and assist with the emergency relief efforts for people with disabilities.

She says they've sent Wilfredo Rodriguez, who has served as an attendant for those with disabilities in Rochester, to Puerto Rico to help.

"Going straight into people's homes, identifying the needs that they have, and then hopefully getting them the equipment necessary to the individuals to either evacuate them or help them continue to live," she said.

Woodward says there's an urgent need right now for oxygen concentrators, as some 56 thousand Puerto Ricans depend on a medical device to deliver oxygen.

There's also a need for fuel to run generators to power ventilators.

"Those are some of our most extreme circumstances.  There are people on dialysis who are unable to get to dialysis, and there are some people who have physical disabilities that prevent them from leaving their home because the streets are obstructed right now or their home is obstructed because of all of the mess the hurricane left behind.  So we have wheelchair users trapped in their homes," she said.

Woodward says people can help by donating to the partner agency on this relief effort, Portlight Strategies, or by contacting her at 585-269-9184