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Help For Puerto Rico

By Ashley Alonzo
On September 24, 2017

Photo from: CBS Miami

Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria have passed through Puerto Rico in the past three weeks. Although Hurricane Irma only touched Puerto Rico, it left one million residents without power. Not long after Puerto Ricans began to think they were safe, another hurricane comes their way with intentions of destroying everything on its path.

With 155 MPH winds knocking down trees, cars, houses and even electricity, Puerto Rico faces the question of how to rebuild after something so devastating hits the small Caribbean island.

Alexis Cruz and Hecmart Nieves are both 23-year-old Ottawa Baseball players from Puerto Rico who plan to travel Sept. 24 to volunteer and help better the situation.

Cruz and Nieves mentioned that although Hurricane Irma did not cause much damage, there were strong rains that floated the island.

“This seemed like a warning to what was about to come. The disaster Hurricane Maria brought was something Puerto Rico have never faced,” Nieves says.

Previous to the interview, Cruz had commented on how worried he was about his family, and that although he had talked to them three days before Hurricane Maria had hit, he was not sure of what to expect on his arrival to the island.

Nieves, on the other hand, was able to identify a few major aspects that Puerto Rico is lacking.

“There is no power, no food, no water, no cellular service. People died. All I know is that we are going to Puerto Rico to face the reality of what is left after the hurricane, and we hope to find out that our families are okay,” Nieves says.

Cruz was born and raised in the area of Humacao, which is where his family resides currently. Nieves was born and raised in San Jose, however his family is spread between both San Jose and Juncos. They both confirmed that the east side of Puerto Rico where Junco and Humacao, along with Yabucoa and Patillas are located, are exactly the points where damage was heavy.

Plans of visiting can last from a week to months, and both student athletes are aware of it. They want to at least physically make sure their families and friends are okay and are able to obtain the help needed.

“Puerto Rico esta irreconocible, si tu ves a Puerto Rico en una foto antes del huracan y luego una foto ahora, tu vas a decir que eso no es Puerto Rico por que lo unico que se ve es agua, por eso no importa cuando tiempo nos quedemos, si nos temenos que quedar mas que un mes nos quedamos mas que un mes.”

“Puerto Rico is unrecognizable. If you see a picture of Puerto Rico before and after the hurricanes, you would say, 'That’s not Puerto Rico,' because all you can see is water. That is why it doesn’t matter how much we stay. If we have to stay more than a month, then we will stay more than a month with no doubt,” Nieves explains.

Cruz and Nieves hope to help with anything that is needed such as cleaning streets, reconstruction and giving support the people need at this crucial moment. 

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