Weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the island remains a scene of mass devastation and chaos. Collapsed buildings, damaged roads, gas shortages and power outages have left its residents—who need food and other basic necessities—no choice but to use cash for all purchases. Stores are unable to process credit and debit card transactions, or even government-issued benefits, due to electrical and communication outages and damaged payment processing equipment.
Finding cash after a disaster is hard to do.
Obtaining critical cash after a disaster is proving hard to do. Less than half of Puerto Rico’s ATM machines are operating, resulting in hours-long lines with people withdrawing as much cash as they possibly can. To top things off, this has created a run on cash. In response, The Federal Reserve has flown an airplane loaded full of cash to the island to help meet the seemingly endless demand for ATM cash withdrawals.
All of these challenges—the power and communication outages, the cash shortage, and the desperation for basic supplies—are complex and deeply intertwined. It’s left many on the island, who thought they had adequately prepared, wondering what they could have done differently. Many are reporting that they just didn’t believe it would ever be this bad.Lesson learned - Get cash before disaster strikes.
Puerto Rico serves as a terrifying reminder of the aftermath from natural disasters. Long after storms pass, floodwaters recede and electricity is restored, this is the reality. Cleanup, rebuilding, finding a new normal—it takes days, weeks, months and even years.
Setting aside enough cash before emergency events like this one occur is the best way to have a plan, and reassurance, that you’ll have the means to survive afterward.Withdraw Cash Wednesday makes sense.
Withdraw Cash Wednesday is a cash movement dedicated to helping people gain control of their lives and their money by using cash. Consumers are encouraged to plan ahead for expenses by hitting the nearest ATM every Wednesday to get the cash needed for the following week or longer.Building an emergency fund can take time. Participating in Withdraw Cash Wednesday to plan for emergency situations and expenses is one way to do it. Over many weeks or even months, you can create a sizable emergency stash—pure cash to rely on should you find yourself in a disaster like the unfortunate people of Puerto Rico.
Take control of your money and improve your life.
Receive timely reminders and tips to take control of your money by using cash.