Five years ago, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.
Once again, the island and its Caribbean neighbor, the Dominican Republic , have found themselves in the grip of severe weather due to the disastrous floods and landslides caused by Hurricane Fiona. In the aftermath of Fiona, the American Red Cross activated its volunteer service on Monday to help the affected communities.
With the help of our sister station Telemundo, a Red Cross web page and a telephone line have been set up to receive donations aimed at recovering from the damage caused by the tropical system.
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The governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, reported that so far a total of 1,083 people have been rescued following Fiona.
The organization has directed its efforts to guide the community so that they take the necessary preparation measures in their homes in the face of the terrible floods.
"Given the possibility of flooding, we urge families to stay in safe places and not put their lives at risk to evacuate at the last minute in the most critical moments," previously said Lee Vanessa Feliciano, regional executive of the American Red Cross Chapter of Puerto Rico.
For more details, access the Red Cross/ Telemundo link or call 1-800-596-6567.
RECOMMENDATIONS IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION
In a flood situation, the American Red Cross offers the following recommendations:
- Know the flood risks of the area.
- Stay off the roads and away from floodwaters. If you must drive, avoid flooded roads.
- If you're stuck on a flooded road and waters rise around you, quickly get out of the car, move to higher ground, and stay there.
- If there are downed power lines on the road or in the streets, do not step into any puddles or standing water.
- Follow eviction orders and do not return home until authorities say it is safe.
- Check to see if you have an insurance policy that covers flooding. If not, find out how to get a flood insurance policy.
- Keep insurance policies, personal identification, and other important documents in a sealed plastic bag inside your supply kit.
- Listen to the bulletins provided by official agencies to receive information on floods in your area.
- For older adults, the American Red Cross recommends understanding the medical, physical, and cognitive needs that may affect your ability to respond in an emergency. Regarding medical needs, have identified a backup plan to operate medical equipment or keep medications cold. In addition, they must build a support network. Plan how you will communicate with those who help you. Identify who can help: Include family, friends, neighbors, caregivers, and health care providers in your network.
Additionally, Suffolk County Police Commissioner announced Tuesday the county is holding a relief drive to benefit the victims of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico.
“As Long Islanders, we know firsthand the devastation extreme weather can cause, and today my thoughts are with the people of Puerto Rico as the island deals with catastrophic flooding and a trail of unimaginable destruction from Hurricane Fiona,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “It is times like these that we must all come together, and through this supply drive we hope to help collect the necessary supplies to support those in need.”
Collection bins will be placed in each of the Suffolk County Police precincts, as well as Police Headquarters in Yaphank. Donations of toiletries, non-perishable food products, personal hygiene products, and baby products, including diapers, will be accepted at these locations through Sept. 30, when they will be sent to Puerto Rico.
“Hurricane Fiona has left a wake of unimaginable destruction for the people of Puerto Rico, whose safety and wellbeing has been steadfastly on my mind since the news of the storm broke,” Commissioner Harrison said. “It is my hope the residents of Suffolk County and the SCPD will come together to gather the necessary supplies to ease the burden of Puerto Ricans as they rebuild and recover.”
Ahead of the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in Elizabeth, New Jersey, trucks will be parked right by the waterfront for anyone looking to donate goods. The Puerto Rican Alliance of Elizabeth (PRAE) is partnering with local pastor Orlando Sanchez to turn the parade into more than just a celebration of their culture.
"I'm asking everyone from Newark to Jersey City: Let's come together as one for our people, the need us now more than ever," said Carlos Torres, a councilman and president of PRAE. The group is looking for canned goods, water and non-perishables be brought on Sunday, Sept. 25, which will then be hand-delivered by Sanchez.
The group already has 50,000 pounds of donations ready to go, and is hoping to double that by the time the parade is over.
Meanwhile, to help support immediate relief and recovery efforts, Comcast NBCUniversal announced it will contribute $250,000 to the Hispanic Federation, a nonprofit organization working on the ground to provide emergency relief services and essential supplies to communities impacted by the disaster.
Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, Telemundo and this station.