How to contact loved ones in Puerto Rico and help with recovery
PERTH AMBOY — There is a way for those with friends and family in Puerto Rico to find out how they are doing in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
The greatest frustration for those in the U.S. has been awaiting word about their loved ones. Most of the island is still without power, making communications nearly impossible.
The opening of the island's main port in San Juan allowed 11 ships to bring in 1.6 million gallons of water, 23,000 cots, dozens of generators, and food to those in need on Saturday. Dozens more shipments are expected in upcoming days.
The federal aid effort is racing to stem a growing humanitarian crisis in towns left without fresh water, fuel, electricity, or phone service. Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is in charge of the relief effort, said they would take satellite phones to all of Puerto Rico's towns and cities, more than half of which were cut off following Maria's devastating crossing of Puerto Rico on Wednesday.
The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration created an email address, email@example.com to send as much information about your loved ones as possible along with your contact information.
Because of the high volume of email please do not send a follow up email.
Perth Amboy Willa Diaz, whose community is nearly a quarter Puerto Rican, received word from her cousin that her mom, sister and family are okay.
"My thoughts and prayers are with all of you who are still waiting to hear from your loved ones," Diaz wrote on her Facebook page.
Diaz has been working with other mayors on a Puerto Rican relief drive and will announce the details on Monday.
Jersey City held a fundraiser to benefit both Puerto Rico and Mexican earthquake victims on Saturday night.
"Thanks to the thousands that came out last night to support. We put this together quickly but raised lots of money and trucks of donations for people in need," Mayor Steven Fulop said in a tweet.
The Clinton First Aid and Rescue Squad sent its six wheel drive, off-road ASAP (Alternate Support Apparatus) ambulance to Puerto Rico. It will be part of a 50-person team from New Jersey answering a request from the U.S. Virgin Islands Emergency Management Agency, according to NJ.com.
The team will help answer calls for assistance coming from remote areas inaccessible because of hurricane damage on St. Thomas and St. John.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org.