New Yorkers Stepping Up With Relief Efforts For Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The entire island of Puerto Rico remains in the dark after Hurricane Maria, and some people in the Tri-State Area have still not heard from family members on the island.

On Saturday, many in New York City are stepping up and donating supplies to help with recovery efforts.

The FDNY’s Engine 201 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn is just one of 18 different firehouses and EMS stations across the city where people can drop off donations.

MORE: How You Can Help

“This morning when I was watching the news, I saw they were collecting Diapers for babies, baby food,” one woman told CBS2’s Reena Roy. “Those are my people, you know, I have people in Puerto Rico that I haven’t been able to talk to at all.”

With millions of residents of Puerto Rico living in darkness without power or water, some New Yorkers felt like they were living in darkness too.

“Devestation, and I’m eating, and I don’t even know if theyhave something to grub on during the day,” Wanda Medina told CBS2’s Marc Liverman. “Just hoping that they had enough stored, and that they didn’t lose it.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio arrived later in the day to donate items, and encouraged fellow New Yorkers to do the same.

There were grassroots efforts going on too. El Grito De Sunset Park was taking items for Puerto Rico and relief efforts in Mexico which was hit by deadly earthquakes.

“This is my neighborhood too. We gotta get together, it don’t matter where they came from, you gotta help,” Luis Torres said.

As WCBS 880’s Myles Miller reported, one in five Puerto Ricans live in New York City — many of them on the Lower East Side.

Councilmember Rosie Mendez represents the area.

“Everybody is worried,” she said. “They can’t get through to their loved ones.

Mendez is among those unable to communicate with family members back home.

“We’re just sitting on the edge waiting for news,” she added. “The stories that we did hear prior to communication going out is very troubling.”

As floodwaters take over the island and buildings are destroyed, more than 15,000 people are in shelters and roughly 85 percent of phone and internet cables are knocked down. Making matters worse, 70,000 people have evacuated as officials warn the Guajataca Dam in western Puerto Rico is failing and could break completely.

READ: Cuomo Returns From Hurricane Maria-Ravaged Puerto Rico, Calls Devastation ‘Really Breathtaking’

Puerto Ricans are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Maria on all fronts, with the aftermath so bad the entire island has been declared a disaster zone.

“A lot of Puerto Ricans in New York who can’t contact their family members, so this is an emotional and traumatic time for a lot of people,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said from the island Friday.

Cuomo and a delegation of emergency management officials made their way to Puerto Rico to drop off supplies like food, water, and generators.

“We need to get our federal representatives to focus on getting the help they need to Puerto Rico and the other islands,” Cuomo said. “They’re not going to be able to repair it on their own.”

People back home are also doing what they can. Taxi drivers and bodega owners gathered water, canned food, and clothing and La Marina Restaurant in Inwood on Friday.

“It’s heartbreaking to see the children, parents, elderly, struggling for a bottle of water,” Fernando Mateo from the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers told CBS2. “We need to do something and we need to do it now.”

Early Saturday, de Blasio along with the Hispanic Federation announced a partnership to bring first responders to Puerto Rico.

“We’re ready to do all we can to help those affected by this devastating hurricane,” de Blasio said in a statement.

Officials recommend donating the main necessities like baby food, diapers, batteries, and first aid supplies.

Below is a full list of drop-off sites in the city, according to the Mayor’s office:

Manhattan

  • Engine 91: 242 E. 111th Street, New York, NY 11220 (East Harlem)
  • Engine 95/ Ladder 36: 29 Vermilyea Avenue, New York, NY 10033 (Inwood)
  • Engine 28/ Ladder 11: 222 E. 2nd Street, New York, NY 10009 (Lower East Side)

Bronx

  • EMS Station 26: 1264 Boston Road, Bronx NY 10456 (Morrisania)
  • EMS Station 55: 3134 Park Avenue, Bronx, NY 10451 (Melrose)
  • Engine 64/ Ladder 47: 1214 Castle Hill Avenue, Bronx, NY 10462 (Castle Hill)
  • Engine 83/ Ladder 29: 618 E. 138th Street, Bronx, NY 10454 (Mott Haven/South Bronx)

Queens

  • Engine 316: 27-12 Kearney Street, Queens, NY 11369 (East Elmhurst)
  • Engine 289/ Ladder 138: 97-28 43rd Avenue, Queens, NY 11368 (Corona)
  • Engine 307/ Ladder 154: 81-17 Northern Boulevard, Queens, NY 11372 (Jackson Heights)

Brooklyn

  • Engine 271/ Ladder 124: 392 Himrod Street, Brooklyn, NY 11237 (Bushwick)
  • Engine 277/ Ladder 112: 582 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221 (Bushwick)
  • Engine 201/ Ladder 114: 5113 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11220 ( Sunset Park)
  • Engine 228: 436 39th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232 (Sunset Park)
  • Engine 218: 650 Hart Street, Brooklyn, NY 11221 (Bushwick)

Staten Island

  • Engine 153/ Ladder 77: 74 Broad Street, Staten Island, NY 10304 (Stapleton)
  • Engine 157/ Ladder 80: 1573 Castleton Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10302 (Port Richmond)
  • Ladder 79: 1189 Castleton Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10310 (Port Richmond)

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