Local hurricane relief efforts trail blaze ahead of federal response
By Lori Ann Doyon
Harvey, Irma, and Maria: the Hurricane thugs of 2017 took a big disastrous swipe at Texas, Cuba, the Virgin Islands, Florida, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Although federal aid was approved quickly for Florida and Texas after Harvey and Irma came and went, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been neglected by their protector in comparison. There were also earthquakes in Mexico.
Local relief efforts have been strong and steady to provide for those suffering from the storms and quakes. In Puerto Rico’s case, the efforts will be ongoing for a good while into the future.
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito returned from a 3-day trip to Puerto Rico in late September. On WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show”, she reported that 80% of the island’s agriculture is decimated, and 40% of the area doesn’t have access to drinking water. She pointed justifiable criticism at the federal government’s lukewarm response to Puerto Rico, “[CNN reported] Texas received 30,000 troops and relief workers, Florida received 40,000 people, as of today, based on the NY Times report this morning, Puerto Rico received 10,000. That is incredibly inadequate.”
“There are three and-a-half million Americans living through a nightmare, the people of Puerto Rico, an island we feel so close to here in New York City,” Mayor de Blasio said. “My message to all Puerto Ricans is New York City stands with you and we will be there to help.”
Since September 22, eighteen FDNY firehouses are collecting the following for Puerto Rico: diapers, baby food, batteries, first aid supplies, and feminine hygiene products. Two North Brooklyn collection sites are in Bushwick: Engine 271/ Ladder 124: 392 Himrod Street and Engine 218: 650 Hart Street. To make it more convenient for people to give, St. Nicks Alliance is collecting the same items and will bring them to the FDNY. Anyone can drop off their donations at these four locations: 2 Kingsland Avenue (lobby), 211 Ainslie Street (lobby), MS 126 (Greenpoint Beacon office Room 133) 424 Leonard Street, and 790 Broadway (2nd Floor Lobby). Also many local electeds are collecting a similar list of necessities that will go to Puerto Rico and the other areas that have been hit hard by the recent catastrophes.
Another way to help is to adopt an animal that has been rescued from Texas or Florida. Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition (BARC) reached out to a Texas shelter to save thirty-one dogs. At this writing they are soon to arrive. If you don’t wish to adopt a furry friend with or without a Texan temperament, you can donate to the fundraising campaign here: www.youcaring.com/barcshelter-918378 . BARC is located at 86th North 1st Street.