Runta News- The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in collaboration with local community-based organizations began distributing up to 500 air conditioning units to people who are vulnerable to heat waves specially to elders from immigrant and refugee communities.
The Somali American Council of Oregon (SACOO), Portland Open Bible Church, and Rockwood Community Development Corporation have been helping get the units to qualified Oregonians to help them get through the heat wave.
This distribution comes after OHA and Oregon Department of Human Services have decided to deliver hundreds of portable air conditioning units through community service providers after the State Legislators allocated $5 million for the initiative. The state is expected to increase the delivery of units up to 3,000 soon.
SACOO’s president, Musse Olol Diinle, whose organization provide support mainly to Somali and other African immigrant communities has shown his appreciation during an interview with Runta News though expressed his disappointment of not receiving enough for every household that may need one.
Oregon has recently been experiencing unbearable heatwaves that lasted many more days than it usually has been. Last year’s heat wave killed 69 people in Oregon and Olol hopes this distribution will save some lives this year.
Portland Metro area has large Somali, African, and Muslim communities and SACOO which has been around for the past 10 years remains the most effective organization that fight for the needs of those communities. Oregon Health Authority enjoys good relationship with SACOO and through it, it delivers other important services such as continues by weekly COVID-19 vaccination events to make sure every member of the community is vaccinated and protected from the harmful and deadly Pandemic.
Seattle, Washington has also been experiencing this week the most prolonged heatwave ever, and we hope it will learn something from Portland’s initiative and passionate care for its communities. So far, the city of Seattle has been only providing cooling facilities which are not enough and easy for everyone.