Long Islanders with ties to Puerto Rico watchful of island as Hurricane Fiona makes landfall

Long Islanders with a direct connection to the Caribbean island also began efforts to collect relief supplies.

News 12 Staff

Sep 18, 2022, 9:25 PM

Updated 578 days ago


Some Long Islanders who have connections to Puerto Rico are worried after Hurricane Fiona made landfall on the Caribbean island on Sunday.
Many were glued to their smartphones trying to keep in contact with family members who are living through Fiona.
Long Islanders with a direct connection to the Caribbean island also began efforts to collect relief supplies.
"We actually started prior to the storm coming," said Amee Hernandez, of Jibaritos with Troops, a grass roots organization.
The meetings were in full swing Sunday night in Bay Shore. Discussions were underway on what supplies will be needed immediately by the people of Puerto Rico in the wake of Fiona.
Jibaritos with Troops has done this before. In 2017 after Hurricane Maria, the organization shipped a million and a half pounds of supplies directly from Long Island.
"We palletized it, we shipped it, we flew down, we collected the pallets. There was a team on the other end, and we distributed it on our own, in our own convoy or anyone else who was able to help us," Hernandez said.
This time around, the organization knows help is going to be needed quickly.
Everyone in the organization knows someone in Puerto Rico. They say watching videos of the destruction online is heartbreaking.
"It's really raining a lot in the central part of the island and it's really dark," said Margarita Espada, of Teatro Yerbabruja.
Much of Espada's family is trying to stay safe as the category 1 hurricane batters the coastline and inland areas.
Power is out across the island and many fear flooding and possible mudslides.
The tight connection between the two island's organizers from Jibaritos with Troops says makes them work even harder so donations from Long Island get to those who need it the most.
"They know it's Long Island came together and help over here... One Island for another," says Jose Gonzalez, of Jibaritos with Troops.
Jibaritos with Troops says once the storm passes, they'll know the type of donations that will be needed. Then they say they'll post that information on their Facebook and Instagram pages.
Gov. Kathy Hochul issued a statement on Fiona, saying in part, "New York and Puerto Rico share a special bond, and I know many New Yorkers are concerned for the safety and well-being of friends and loved ones currently on the Island during Hurricane Fiona. The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is monitoring the storm closely and will be able to rapidly deploy assistance if requested by the federal government and Puerto Rico."

More from News 12