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As Hurricane Fiona makes its way north, we’re learning more about how vulnerable Puerto Rico’s power system remains five years after Hurricane Maria.
And as the process of recovery begins on the island, communities across the US are rallying to provide support for Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rican New Yorkers say they were able to reach families quicker after Fiona
As Gothamist’s Arya Sundaram explainsafter Hurricane Maria,
Many islanders bought generators, so they were able to charge their devices for future storms and regular outages.
So while loved ones could more quickly get in touch, New Yorkers are looking to get aid to Puerto Rico as soon as they can. Nonprofits like Your Network Community Caring Advocate are waiting to ship food and water until partners on the ground are able to receive and store them safely.
A Team of Maryland firefighters arrived in Puerto Rico to help with the Fiona response
As WAMU’s Jenny Gathright reports,
The team — called Maryland Task Force 1 — consists of fire and EMS members from Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Howard County. About 35 task force members took the trip, according to Montgomery County officials.
Springfield, Massachusetts, has opened a welcome center for Puerto Ricans arriving after Hurricane Fiona
As NEPM’s Elizabeth Roman reports,
The welcome center [will be available] for any families in need, just like it did during Hurricane Maria in 2017. At the time, they assisted about 600 families.
“We want to make sure we can meet their needs once they are here,” said Rosa Espinoza, program director for the New North Citizen Council, which hosts the center.
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal has called for an ‘all-hands-on-deck response’
The state is home to one of the largest communities of Puerto Ricans living in the mainland US, As Connecticut Public’s Camila Vallejo and Kay Perkins report, Sen. Richard Blumenthal was quick to call for improvements in how the US responded.
“Last time Puerto Rico experienced this kind of natural disaster, our country failed to respond,” [the Democrat] said. “We need to remember, our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico deserve the same kinds of all-in, all-hands-on-deck response.”
Connecticut-based Americares said this week it is mobilizing a team based in San Juan to deliver medicine and relief supplies.
Puerto Ricans in South Florida want to improve their response this time around
After Hurricane Maria devastated the island, “South Florida’s Puerto Rican diaspora won kudos for commandeering aid delivery to the storm-ravaged island on private charter flights and shipping containers,” WLRN’s Tim Padgett reports,
Their assistance often reached some of Puerto Rico’s worst hit communities before help arrived from the US and Puerto Rican government-led efforts.
Even with that success, community leaders like Debbie Sosa of Miami tell WLRN they’ve learned important lessons from 2017 that should inform how they provide support now.
The Chicago area’s Puerto Rican community is working to help those on the island navigate life as climate refugees
Via WBEZ’s Reset with Sasha-Ann Simons podcast
Jessie Fuentes, co-chair of the Puerto Rican Agenda of Chicago, told WBEZ’s Sasha-Ann Simons that people in Chicago are trying to help friends and family on the island navigate life without power: “You’re quite literally uprooting people from their homes because they’re now climate refugees.”
This story originally ran Sept. 22, 2022 as part of live coverage of the recovery effort after Hurricane Fiona.