Puerto Ricans in New York pledge to help island nation recover from hurricane


NEW YORK — More than 1 million Puerto Ricans call New York State their home.

On Sunday evening, many of them waited for a message from their loved ones and mobilized to help after the devastation of Hurricane FionaKevin Rincon of UKTN reports.

Kevin Rincon of UKTN spoke to New Yorkers with ties to the island.

The strong winds that accompanied the storm caused power outages almost a day before the landfall. Some disturbances were reported before the storm even made landfall.

READ MORE: Hurricane Fiona ravages Puerto Rico, laying off power across the island

Right now, the entire island is in the dark, and much of the gains made five years after Hurricane Maria have been washed away.

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“We need help. Let’s not forget. Don’t forget all those Puerto Ricans out there who need us today,” said Jenyffer Ortiz of the Bronx, an evacuee from Hurricane Maria.

Ortiz left Puerto Rico after Maria. Her hometown has been left in ruins by Fiona and the worst isn’t over yet.

“I have family, I have friends and it’s hard. It’s hard to relive everything that happens,” Ortiz said.

The storm washed away a bridge in a central mountain town, not far from where her family is now. The fast-flowing water created dangerous conditions, while the wind left the electricity grid offline.

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Here at home, Surey Miranda works with the nonprofit Diaspora for Puerto Rico.

“One of the things we want to make sure is that we’re creating visibility about the lack of infrastructure,” Miranda said.

She added that this time it is different that people can still access the internet, which is a big help. They are already thinking about donations.

“Make sure we get solar batteries, items that can be useful for letting people communicate,” Miranda said.

City Councilor Marjorie Velazquez, one of several Puerto Rican legislators in the city, has family on the island. She said help should come sooner than after Maria.

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“It didn’t work last time, so we understand that challenge. So we’re here as New Yorkers. Because New York State, New York City, worked together last time, we’re going to do the same this time,” Velázquez said.

She says that when the storm is over, there must be accountability.

“The power authority, LUMA, has not done its part to bring Puerto Rico to power,” Velazquez said.

Flooding will be a concern in the coming days. One of the questions many people in New York and Puerto Rico are asking is what will happen when a bigger storm comes.



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