Humboldt Park residents want to help Puerto Rico after Hurricane Fiona devastation

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CHICAGO (TNZT) – Hurricane Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic on Monday, leaving flooding and damage in the streets.

In Puerto Rico, too, more than a million people are without power. The flooding there is also catastrophic after Fiona hit the island over the weekend. Power recovery can take days.

Rescuers are trying to rescue hundreds of people trapped by the rising water.

TNZT 2’s Marybel Gonzalez went to Humboldt Park, where volunteers were already working on the relief effort.

Many of the residents in the area have close ties to Puerto Rico. They’ve come together to think about how best to help an island still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which has struck for nearly five years so far.

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“It’s terrible. I see everyone is down today,” said Vanessa Massas of her Humboldt Park neighborhood, who woke up less lively Monday after many residents lost contact with their loved ones on the island after the hurricane made landfall over the weekend. .

“We don’t know how devastating it is yet,” Massas said. “We got some bits and pieces (information).”

The Category 1 hurricane caused catastrophic flooding and an island-wide power outage that affected hundreds of thousands of people, including Massas’ family.

“My daughter’s grandmother is in the hospital. They have no running water and no electricity,” Massas said. “She is stable for now. She’s had a stroke.’

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It remains to be seen what the damage is and when the power will be restored, but like others, Massas is ready to send help from Chicago.

“We’re trying to figure out what we can do,” she said.

In 2017, she was one of the Chicagoans who volunteered to send goods to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit the island and worked with community organizations like Chicago’s Puerto Rican Agenda to help those devastated by that storm.

“In Puerto Rico, we need to understand what lack of power that means? That means we can’t store drugs properly,” said Jessie Fuentes, co-chair of Puerto Rican Agenda. “That means we don’t have clean water. That means transferring patients in hospitals that don’t have backup generators.”

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The organization said it is ready to return to action as soon as leaders and organizers in Puerto Rico announce what is needed.

“We are strategizing,” Fuentes said. “We don’t want to inconvenience Puerto Rico or send unnecessary items. We want to be able to do exactly what the people of Puerto Rico need.”

Five years ago, Chicago residents sent nearly half a million dollars in aid. On Tuesday, organizers expect to learn more about how people can help in the aftermath of this hurricane.

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