(KRON) – – It was five years ago today that Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, killing nearly 3,000 people and destroying the power grid. While it has still not fully recovered from that storm, residents there are once again in the dark, this time due to Hurricane Fiona, which hit on Sunday.
Richard Lee Cuevas lives in Aguadilla. He says his town, like countless others across Puerto Rico, has been devastated again — this time by hurricane Fiona.
Cuevas says those suffering the most are the most vulnerable: the elderly, the sick, and the young. He tells KRON4, “We have no power, no water, now there is a crisis with the gas again.”
Now, as they did during Hurricane Maria, Bay Area organizations are stepping up to help. Kathryn Kim Ramos with San Jose’s Puerto Rican Civic Club tells KRON4, “We’re better equipped to assess the needs of the people of Puerto Rico. We have the experience now.”
Ramos says they are focusing on monetary donations which will allow them to purchase items at big box stores and have those companies ship the items. She tells KRON4, “We’re looking for more monetary donations, gift cards where we can go to the big box chains like Walgreens, Walmart, Home Depot and buy these items.”
The Puertorriqueno Club in San Francisco is also raising funds. Irma Iris, the president of the club tells KRON4, “We’re starting to collect money and we are also going to have a fundraiser, and whatever money we make from there will be added to what is donated on the website.”
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In their case, they hope to send the funds to organizations already on the ground in Puerto Rico. Those in Puerto Rico say help can’t come soon enough.