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The Puerto Rican diaspora leverages lessons from Hurricane Maria to help after Fiona

This aerial picture taken on Tuesday shows Utuado, Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Fiona struck the island earlier in the week.
AFP via Getty Images
This aerial picture taken on Tuesday shows Utuado, Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Fiona struck the island earlier in the week.

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 U.S. are rallying to provide support for Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican New Yorkers say they were able to reach families quicker after Fiona

via WNYC/Gothamist

As Gothamist's Arya Sundaram explains, after 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.

Keep reading at Gothamist.com

A Team of Maryland firefighters arrived in Puerto Rico to help with the Fiona response

via WAMU/DCist

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.

Keep reading at DCist.com

Springfield, Massachusetts, has opened a welcome center for Puerto Ricans arriving after Hurricane Fiona

via New ENgland Public Media

As NEPM's Elizabeth Román 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.

Keep reading at New England Public Media [en español]


Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal has called for an 'all-hands-on-deck response'

Via Connecticut Public

The state is home to one of the largest communities of Puerto Ricans living in the mainland U.S. As Connecticut Public's Camila Vallejo and Kay Perkins report, Sen. Richard Blumenthal was quick to call for improvements in how the U.S. 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.

Keep reading at Connecticut Public

Puerto Ricans in South Florida want to improve their response this time around

via WLRN

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 U.S. 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.

Keep reading at WLRN.org

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."

Listen at WBEZ.org



This story
originally ran Sept. 22, 2022 as part of live coverage of the recovery effort after Hurricane Fiona.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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