Bay Area Puerto Ricans mobilize relief efforts following Hurricane Fiona

SAN FRANCISCO — Puerto Ricans who call the Bay Area home have looked on in horror as Hurricane Fiona devastated the island nearly five years to the day after Hurricane Maria hit.

Irmairis Vargas, president of the Club Puertorriqueño San Francisco, says the club’s former president has been riding out Hurricane Fiona.

“He’s telling me no electricity, a lot of rain, a lot of river runoff, no water,” Vargas said. “The power plants are turned off.”

ALSO READ: How to help people of Puerto Rico impacted by Hurricane Fiona

The storm at one point early Monday morning knocked out power for nearly the entire island, leaving 1.3 million in the dark.

“I talked to my family in Ponce, and they are, like, trees are down, there’s a lot of water, the rain, the wind,” Vargas said. “It’s been really, really hard on them because they’ve been without water almost 24 hours.”

But the distance hasn’t stopped people across the Bay Area from jumping into action.

“I call this my uniform. I wore it most of the time during Maria and here I am putting it on again today so today was a very difficult day for us,” said Maria Acevedo the president of the Puerto Rican Civic Club of San Jose.

Acevedo is from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and runs the Puerto Rican Civic Club of San Jose. The club volunteered to help in the wake of Hurricane Maria and is mobilizing again, raising money for things like a desperately-needed generator for an orphanage on the island.

“We’ve been trying to help them replace it. You know, it’s not an easy task, it’s about $20,000 to have that generator replaced,” Acevedo said. “But the children in that orphanage average from six months to eight years old. And, you know, it’s imperative that they get this generator fixed.”

The club is accepting a number of donations via Amazon, which they have listed on their website: http://www.puertoricancivicclub.org/ 

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