Even though Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean weeks ago, islands there continue to struggle in a crisis left by the powerful storm.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and members of the music group Black Eyed Peas were at FDNY EMS Station 26 in the Bronx Saturday urging New Yorkers to get involved in the relief response by donating essentials like batteries, baby food and first aid supplies.
“These are the products that people in Puerto Rico need and they’re not going to get enough of them if we don’t do this,” de Blasio said.
Black Eyed Peas member Jaime Luis Gomez, known by his stage name Taboo,
“Especially being a Mexican American, Latino, myself, it’s important for me to use my voice and my platform to be of service to our people,” Gomez said. “I always say that the power of the people is much stronger than the people in power.”
While the donation drive is shipping goods to Puerto Rico, other are collecting to help the surrounding areas affected.
“It gives me pleasure to see how many people actually showed up here this morning, said Roy Abraham. “People have been working since 6 o’clock this morning. And if we can continue that effort, I think we can get Dominica, at least Dominica, back on the road to recovery.”
City Council member Andy King was collecting goods to make sure the victims on the Virgin Islands don’t get overlooked in the desperate recovery efforts. He said the majority of islands are not getting coverage.
“We are not seeing the pictures of devastation on some of these island and they are living with turmoil each and every day, so I’m asking us all, do all that you can,” King said. “Small as they might be, they are still our brothers, our sisters, our family members who are living there.”
As of Friday, power had only been restored for 10.7 percent of Puerto Rico and 55.5 percent of people have drinking water, according to status.PR, a Spanish-language website maintained by the governor's office.
Among the other signs of progress Friday, according to Puerto Rico's government: 78 percent of gas stations up and running, 73 percent of supermarkets open, and more than half of bank branches open.
Still, a communications blackout remains a major problem for many. About 42 percent of the island has access to wired or wireless service, according to the governor's office. Overall, 84.6 percent of cell sites are still out, the Federal Communications Commission said.