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New York City organization has boots on the ground in Puerto Rico to aid Hurricane Fiona recovery effort

NEW YORK — A New York City organization has boots on the ground in Puerto Rico, helping with the recovery effort after it was hit by Hurricane Fiona.

The hurricane left devastation in its wake, destroying homes and properties.

“We have more than half of Puerto Rico without electricity and a very large number still without water,” said Charlotte Gossett Navarro, Puerto Rico chief director for the Hispanic Federation.

To some, it feels like déjà vu.

“People are having to start over again. Some of these are the same people who were impacted by Hurricane Maria and earthquakes, and so they have started over again now multiple times,” Gossett Navarro told CBS2’s Alecia Reid.

HURRICANE FIONA: How to help those in need

The Hispanic Federation, based out of Manhattan, has been on the ground in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria five years ago, raising and investing over $50 million, all while collaborating with over 100 local nonprofits. But communities continue to struggle, and some are currently hard to reach.

“We want to send in large amounts of food and water, but because of the infrastructure damage to roads, there are some areas that we just can’t send trucks into,” Gossett Navarro said.

So they find alternative ways to get as close as they can, then break down the distribution in order to deliver them safely.

As Puerto Rico forges ahead, the nonprofit says there is potential to rebuild the island in a more resilient way.

“If that rebuild of that electric grid happens immediately and that it happens in a way that it will be resilient and it will be less dependent on fossil fuel,” said Hispanic Federation President and CEO Frank Miranda.

Mayor Eric Adams is also flying to on Sunday to join a relief team from New York City assessing damage.

Saturday night, the Queens Night Market will donate 33% of its net proceeds to support relief efforts in Puerto Rico. The Hispanic Federation is one of the organizations that will benefit from the fundraiser.

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