NYC First Responders Depart for PR to Help After Maria - NBC New York

NYC First Responders Depart for PR to Help After Maria

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    Electricity poles and lines lay toppled on the road after Hurricane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

    A team of first responders departed Saturday for Puerto Rico to help in the recovery effort after Hurricane Maria. 

    The humanitarian crisis was growing in Puerto Rico as towns were left without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service following Maria's devastating passage across the island. 

    Tony Maldonado of the NYC Emergency Management Team said the group from New York would augment the island's emergency management center. 

    Also on the plane, which was rented by the Hispanic Federation, were first responders and City Council President Melissa Mark Viverito. 

    Mark Viverito has family in Puerto Rico. She said that based on descriptions of the damage that she's received from them, "the level of devastation is a total catastrophe."

    Here in New York, firehouses were collecting donations to deliver to Puerto Rico. A telethon is also planned for Sept. 25

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