NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Dozens of volunteer nurses from the Tri-State Area are heading to Puerto Rico to help those on the island who are still reeling from Hurricane Maria.
CBS2’s Reena Roy spoke with the nurses Saturday as they prepared to depart from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Their bags were packed and they’re ready to go.
Forty nurses from the New York State Nurses Association boarded a charter flight Saturday morning, funded by the Hispanic Federation.
“Everybody brings their skills and strengths, and we put them together and we do what we’re supposed to do,” said Jacqueline Algarin.
They were fully stocked with medicine and supplies for the most devastated areas.
“The needs of the people of Puerto Rico are enormous,” one man said.
Officials say roughly 80 percent of the island is still without power. There’s also a lack of clean water and adequate housing.
“I just felt it was a necessity. We need to go and help the people,” said one woman.
This is the association’s fourth trip to the island. Some of the volunteers from hospitals like Montefiore Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital already went but felt compelled to go back – many took time off work to do so.
“I felt like I needed to do more. It wasn’t enough, it just wasn’t enough. I need to go back,” Algarin said. “When it was over, I was like, wait, but there’s more people that need to be seen.”
Others have roots on the island.
“I have family there and friends, so I just felt that I had to go there. No questions were asked,” said Lissette Altreche.
No matter the reason, they’re all going with one goal.
“I want to be there,” Algarin said. “Puerto Rico needs us. The people need us.”
The team of nurses will spend eight days on the island before another group goes down in a few months.