The Bronx steps up to help Puerto Rico

- The Bronx has the largest Puerto Rican population of any borough in New York City. Thousands of residents are worried about family members and friends. The borough has become a focal point for a growing number of relief efforts that are adding to what is being done officially.

Days after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the desperation of those who have had to survive without power and many of life's basic necessities continues to grow worse. There is no way of knowing how many are still trapped or isolated by mudslides and shattered infrastructure.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said progress is slow.

"The government of Puerto Rico, the governor, [Ricardo] Rosselló, with the FEMA personnel that they have are doing all they can," Diaz said. "What I'm hearing is there is still not enough. People don't have electricity. They don't have communications. They need water."

FEMA said its top priority is to provide life-saving resources and that its teams are working around the clock to restore basic transportation and power.

The Department of Defense said the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and a unit of Army medics are conducting search-and-rescue operations as well as medical evacuations 24/7.

New York City's Task Force 1, an urban search-and-rescue team of firefighters and police, in just one day repaired a hospital generator and rescued eight people stranded when a bridge gave way.

Diaz said he believes if Puerto Rico were the 51st state instead of a U.S. territory, even more resources would already be on the way.

"What I'm hearing now is that folks are doing all they can to help each other out," Diaz said. "But we still need more and more muscle and resources from over here into Puerto Rico."

In the shadow of Yankee Stadium, the Jorge Posada Foundation has an ongoing drive based out of the Bronx Drafthouse.

"We're not just asking our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters – we're asking the whole Latino community to come together as one and help out Puerto Rico," Jannette Cabanita said.

A lot of work is being done behind the scenes, too. JetBlue is flying relief supplies into San Juan on flights going there to bring out stranded employees. The airport in Aguadilla was opened for relief flights on Tuesday so getting help to another part of the island will be easier.

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