CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — As Puerto Ricans start to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, the community in Rhode Island is answering the call for help.
Central Falls Mayor and Puerto Rican Maria Rivera is partnering with The Elisha Project in planning a trip to send aid to the island.
The organization’s CEO and founder George Ortiz said they have set aside food, over-the-counter medications, feminine products and first aid supplies, among other daily necessities.
“We’ve already separated over forty to fifty thousand pounds of supplies and food for Puerto Rico,” Ortiz added.
Ortiz, a Lincoln resident, has many cousins on the island. His family, and Rivera’s relatives, do not have electricity or running water.
“That we would have what we call a commonwealth live in this third world situation, but we can freely fly to San Juan and use it as our beach resort,” Ortiz said. “So how do I feel? At this point, I’m angry.”
Around 70% of the island remains in the dark.
LUMA Energy, the private company that manages the power grid on the island, initially said it would take a few days to get the grid back up and running. On Tuesday, LUMA said efforts have been hampered by flooding, blocked roads, downed lines, and deteriorating equipment.
“I know the reality is that they’re not OK,” Rivera said. “They don’t have power, they don’t have water. Just like many millions of families on the island. But this is something that they’re used to that they shouldn’t be used to.”