2022 Mutual Aid Funds: Support Puerto Rico, Jackson & Others

A man walks down a flooded street in the Juana Matos neighborhood of Catano, Puerto Rico, on September 19, 2022, after the passage of Hurricane Fiona. Photo Courtesy: AFP/Getty Images

As we’ve written before, mutual aid funds “address real material needs” and allow us to care for our communities by providing funds, goods and services to those who can’t otherwise access them. And this is especially true in the wake of a natural disaster. It’s no secret that climate change-driven natural disasters have become more frequent and increasingly severe each year.  That said, you might being looking for 2022 mutual aid funds to support.

Throughout 2022, record-setting floods — caused by everything from hurricanes and typhoons to monsoons — have taken center stage. Most recently, Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, wreaking havoc. In Jackson, Mississippi, the ongoing water crisis means nearly 200,000 people don’t have access to clean water — a result, in part, of environmental racism. And, thousands of miles away, a third of Pakistan is under water. 

Of course, it’s challenging to cover every disaster and relief effort. Here, we’ve done our best to provide basic information about some of the most devastating disasters of 2022, all while highlighting some organizations and mutual aid funds worth supporting. 

Hurricane Fiona Hits Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic

Although it was a Category 1 storm, Hurricane Fiona has devastated Puerto Rico, causing an island-wide power outage, severe flooding and massive mudslides. This comes just five years after the destruction of Hurricane Maria, which revealed just how unsafe deferred maintenance and aging infrastructure can be — of course, Puerto Rico isn’t the only place facing that hard truth

As Refinery29’s Somos — self-described as “communities of Latines rewriting our narratives, redefining freedom and finding joy in our nuances together” — points out, “the colonial island and its people [are reeling] from the compounded traumas that come from natural catastrophes, political inaction and disaster capitalism.” With all of this in mind, here are some local, on-the-ground organizations and mutual aid funds to support. 

2022 Mutual Aid Funds & Organizations Based in Puerto Rico

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Palm trees blow in the wind in Nagua, Dominican Republic, on September 19, 2022, during the passage of Hurricane Fiona. Photo Courtesy: Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images

A few days later, Hurricane Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic, slamming the eastern side of the country and causing power outages, flooding and mudslides. Again, here are some local, on-the-ground organizations and funds to support. 

2022 Mutual Aid Funds & Organizations Based in the Dominican Republic

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2022 Mutual Aid Funds & Organizations That Aren’t Location Specific

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Ongoing Water Crisis in Jackson, Mississippi

When Jackson, Mississippi’s, main water treatment plant failed, the city’s nearly 200,000 residents were left without water. “Do not drink the water,” Governor Tate Reeves said, following a state of emergency declaration. “Be smart, protect yourself, protect your family, preserve water.” 

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Boil-water advisories were announced back in July — contaminants ranging from E. coli bacteria to lead are likely in the untreated water — and residents have since been told to shower with their mouths closed. Severe storms, which led to the flooding of the Pearl River, didn’t help matters. But the climate change-driven floods, which also impacted parts of Kentucky and Missouri earlier this year, aren’t the only issue here.

Members of Progressive Morningstar Baptist Church move cases of water in Jackson, Mississippi, on September 4, 2022. The church has reached out to various congregations from across the state of Mississippi to help supply residents in Jackson with clean bottled water. Photo Courtesy: Seth Herald/AFP/Getty Images

Despite being the capital of Mississippi, Jackson is plagued by failing infrastructure. Not to mention, state funding has been virtually nonexistent, which means the city can’t make the necessary repairs or upgrades. All of this sounds neglectful, but it’s also rooted in racism. The population of Jackson is roughly 82.5% Black people; it’s clear that environmental racism has compounded this years-in-the-making crisis. 

Everyone deserves access to clean water — here’s how you can help residents of Jackson during this water crisis, which has no apparent end:

2022 Mutual Aid Funds to Support: Wildfires in the Western U.S. 

California

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Although the Mosquito Fire in Northern California is nearly 50% contained as of mid-September, smoke still shrouds the surrounding area, including Lake Tahoe, and is impacting the overall air quality. Closer to the Oregon border, the Mill Fire rained chunks of ash on rural towns and forced thousands to evacuate. As of mid-September, the Mill Fire is over 50% contained but has destroyed over 100 buildings and consumed 4,200 acres. Both fires were encouraged by high winds and started during the state’s recent heat wave. 

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On Labor Day, Southern California’s San Bernardino National Forest experienced the season’s now-largest fire, the Fairview Fire. However, as of mid-September, it’s almost completely contained. In general, the California Fire Foundation provides aid to victims and survivors in the Golden State. However, you can also search for more localized mutual aid funds on sites like GoFundMe

On September 9, 2022, a firefighter uses a drip torch during the Mosquito Fire — one of the largest wildfires of the year — just outside of Volcanoville, California. Photo Courtesy: Benjamin Fanjoy/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Oregon

With the Rum Creek Fire nearly 90% contained, firefighting efforts may not need your immediate support, but the folks trying to rebuild their lives sure do. From helping survivors whose jobs are threatened by the disaster to supporting those who lost their homes, you can find funds on GoFundMe.

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Washington

Federal funds will help cover the firefighting costs related to the Bolt Creek Fire. Burning in Washington’s King and Snohomish Counties, the fire — and smoke — is impacting many Washingtonians, so looking for aid-providers in those particular regions is the best way to help.

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Idaho

As of mid-September, the Ross Fork Fire was 26% contained. In the wake of this challenging battle against the elements, the region’s firefighters are looking for aid in order to replace outdated equipment and garner more volunteers

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Typhoons: 2022 Mutual Aid Funds to Support

Typhoons Hinnamnor & Nanmadol Hit Southern Islands of Japan, Parts of South Korea & Other Nearby Countries

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“Former Super Typhoon Nanmadol is on a path that is putting the entire country of Japan at risk for life-threatening impacts, including widespread flooding, damaging winds and coastal inundation,” AccuWeather reports. Already, two fatalities have been reported as a result of the storm; roughly 8 million people have been told to evacuate. 

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A citizen takes photos of waves in Busan, South Korea, on September 6, 2022, in the wake of Typhoon Hinnamnor. Photo Courtesy: NEWSIS/Xinhua

This comes in the wake of the incredibly devastating Typhoon Hinnamnor, a storm that reached a Category 5 rating as it neared Okinawa. Causing $1.21 billion in damages across Japan and parts of South Korea, Hinnamnor led to at least 12 fatalities. Check back for more information about how to support survivors as the situation unfolds. 

2022 Mutual Aid Funds: Typhoon Merbok Hits Western Alaska

On September 17, Typhoon Merbok pounded Alaska’s Western coast. The typhoon, which formed east of Japan in a region of the Pacific that’s normally too cold to sustain a typhoon, is the result of irregularly warm water and, by extension, climate change. “The most outstanding feature as far as impact is the tremendous area that was damaged,” The Conversation reports. “All coastal regions north of Bristol Bay to just beyond the Bering Strait — hundreds of miles of coastline — had some impact.”

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With the low-lying parts of the coast underwater, there have been widespread power outages. Not to mention, many Alaskans have been displaced. So, how can you help? In addition to finding campaigns on GoFundMe, the Western Alaska Disaster Recovery Fund, set up by the Alaska Community Foundation, and the World Central Kitchen are great places to start. 

Severe Flooding

Muscogee (Creek) Nation

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On September 20, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. government will supplement tribal and local recovery efforts in the wake of the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding. Although these devastating events occurred in early May 2022, supporting Indigenous-led mutual aid and relief efforts, such as the funds helmed by Indigenous Kinship Collective, is still a great way to help. 

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View of a damaged area after a flood that was caused by heavy rainfall in Kentucky on August 8, 2022. Photo Courtesy: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Parts of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Kentucky, Minnesota and Other States

The severe storms, tornadoes and flooding have also impacted several states in the U.S. The subsequent mudslides even led to the closure of Yellowstone National Park over the summer. Folks impacted by the long-term consequences of these natural disasters can seek support from the U.S. Department of Labor as well as more localized mutual aid efforts. 

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2022 Mutual Aid Funds for Pakistan

As of mid-September, one-third of Pakistan is underwater. The flooding, which was caused by the torrential, history-making monsoon rains, has claimed the lives of at least 1,000 people and displaced millions more. Pakistan’s top climate official, Sherry Rehman, called the crisis a “climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions.” 

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To help the roughly 33 million Pakistani people who’ve been impacted by the severe flooding, you can support on-the-ground efforts, including Pakistan Red Crescent Society; Muslim Aid Pakistan’s flood emergency fund, which you can support directly or via Muslim Aid USA’s fund; Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan’s flood emergency relief appeal; Humanity & Inclusion; and International Medical Corps.

Internally displaced people in Pakistan take refuge at a makeshift camp in the flood-hit Chachro of Sindh province on September 19, 2022. Photo Courtesy: AFP/Getty Images

Nigeria

“Floods have affected half a million people, including 100,000 displaced,” Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency announced in mid-September. In the face of the country’s worst flooding in a decade, more than 300 people have been killed. 

Unprecedented rainfall totals have overwhelmed the area, causing dams to overflow and flooding to worsen. As of now, it’s an underreported crisis, so on-the-ground mutual aid is hard to source right now. But supporting organizations that have a track record of providing aid internationally — like Save the Children, International Medical Corps or International Rescue Committee — can have a meaningful impact.

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