Folks step up to help Puerto Ricans in CT impacted by Hurricane Fiona

Puerto Rican community in New Haven concerned for hurricane victims
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 5:57 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 6:52 AM EDT
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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - As Hurricane Maria continues to batter the Caribbean, Connecticut’s sizable Puerto Rican community continues to try to get in touch with loved ones back home.

There is a vibrant Puerto Rican community in New Haven. Just a few weeks ago the city’s Puerto Rican Festival took center stage on the green.

For many with ties to the island, they’re still trying to hear from family and it’s not easy with so many still without power.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Pablo Garcia said he moved to the states when he was 25, but still has family on the island, including his sister.

Hurricane Fiona knocked out power and water to most of the island, with Puerto Rico’s governor saying it could take days to get the lights back on.

The storm washed out roads, tore roofs off homes, and flooded two airports, including in Ponce where Pablo’s family is from.

It’s another blow for the island that’s still trying to recover from Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed the power grid just five years ago.

“I think it’s a lot of damage there. If people can help, they help. If I can help, I help. The thing is Puerto Rican people, they’ve got heart, they’re strong,” said Pablo.

Connecticut has one of the highest concentrated Puerto Rican populations of any state. That has made it a common destination for those looking to escape the conditions.

Puerto Rico still has not recovered from the immense damage caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017, which claimed the lives of almost 3,000 people.

Hurricane Fiona dumped more than 2 feet of rain over the weekend.

The storm left residents with no power, no gas, and limited ways to communicate and travel.

Earlier, Channel 3 spoke with some travelers who were fresh off the plane from San Juan. They said they were heartbroken.

“This is my first time ever going through something like this because I came to the U.S. when I was little, and I’ve never been through something like this,” said Iris Castro of Meriden. “But I have faith in the Lord, and I said everything is going to be okay.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal announced on Monday that National Guard troops rescued 900 people.

You can help through the CT Helps PR website here.

There are several ways to help, including donations of time or money. A link to The Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury can be found here.

Local families try to connect to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico
The situation forced many people to seek refuge in other places, including in Connecticut.
All eyes were on Puerto Rico Tuesday morning after Hurricane Fiona devastated the island.