NYC First Responders Depart for PR to Help After Maria

APTOPIX Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria
Carlos Giusti/AP (File)

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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