South Florida donations delivered to people in Puerto Rico

More than a month after Hurricane Maria made landfall, many residents in Puerto Rico are still struggling to get basic necessities. 

But thanks to private donations from people in South Florida, one organization was able to arrive with aid Monday morning. 

About an hour southeast of San Juan is the town of Juncos, where many people have yet to receive adequate help.

In the community of La Hormiga, Local 10 News reporter Christian De La Rosa met Zuleyka Santos, who couldn’t hold back her tears as she showed him where her home once stood before Hurricane Maria.

She said she had received one care package from the local government after the hurricane. 

Santos and others in her neighborhood were grateful Monday evening as they received some much-needed supplies.

“The government is dealing with a lot of things, and I’m not saying they’re not doing their job. They’re doing their job and they’re doing what they can,” community organizer Jean Diaz said. 

Volunteers with the organization, We Do Better, passed out backpacks to residents that were filled with water, food, toiletries and other items, like portable phone chargers that were already charged.

The flight and the aid were paid for by private donations from South Florida that the organization helped get straight into the hands of those who need it most.

Volunteers said they refuse to go through the island’s governor’s office to distribute the help.

“The information that we were getting on the ground is that the aid that was going through the office of the governor was not getting to the people, at least quickly,” Bobby Rodriguez said. 

The plane also brought in medical supplies from the Miami-based organization, Doctors 4 Puerto Rico. 

Members of the nonprofit said a month many hospitals are still in crisis mode a month after the storm.

The official death toll from hurricane Maria has now reached at least 48.

“The death toll was set at 48,” Dr. Luis Aranguren said.

“Based on what you’ve seen and what you’ve heard, is that accurate to you?” De La Rosa asked. 

“It’s not,” Aranguren said. “The morgue’s full.”

“Where do you think the death toll stands right now?” De La Rosa asked.

“It’s very difficult to estimate, because I haven’t seen in every hospital, but I think it’s in the thousands,” Aranguren said.

As of this week, 80 percent of the island still is without power and doctors say generators at some hospitals are failing.

The governor of Puerto Rico has said he has a plan to restore electricity to most of the island by the end of the year.

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Remote community in Puerto Rico struggling after Hurricane Maria

 Zuleyka Santos couldn’t contain her tears on Monday as she walked around where her home once stood in La Hormiga, Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Maria destroyed her house when it struck the island more than a month ago. 

Santos lost everything in storm. 

On Monday volunteers with Wedobetter.org flew from South Florida to the community  with supplies for the rural part of the island.

Portable phone chargers, toiletries, food and water to last maybe a few days were among the donated supplies given out.

“The government is dealing with a lot of things and I’m not saying they’re not doing their job, they’re doing their job and they’re doing what they can,” said Jean Diaz, a community organizer. 

The group WeDoBetter.org said they refused to go through the island’s governor’s office to distribute the supplies to residents. 

“The information that we were getting on the ground is that the aid that was going through the office of the governor was not getting to the people quickly,” Bobby Rodrigo said. 

Medical supplies were also brought to the island through the group Doctors4PuertoRico. 

Members of the nonprofit said many hospitals are still in crisis mode after the storm, and several doctors said that they believe the official death toll of 48 could increase. 

Currently, 80 percent of the island remains without power and some doctors are using generators to provide electricity as they treat patients at hospitals. 

The governor of Puerto Rico has said he has a plan to restore electricity to most of the island by the end of year. 

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100 rescue dogs, cats from Puerto Rico pampered before being put up for adoption

Seventy-five rescue dogs and 25 rescue cats had a spa day Thursday – just a day after they were flown into Fort Lauderdale from Puerto Rico.

“This is actually the second group of animals that came from Save a Sato. Less than two weeks ago we took in 94 animals and they got adopted so quickly. We have just four kittens left from that group,” Cherie Wachter of the Humane Society of Broward County, said.

The reason the animals are coming to South Florida is that Maria left the rescue organization’s shelter without power and without a roof.

So the situation became dire.

“Prior to the storm, foster families took them into their homes so they could ride out the storm safely and then they were brought back to the shelter so they could find their forever homes,” Wachter said.

Vet techs have been hard at work getting the animals ready for adoption, making sure they had all their vaccinations so animal lovers here can help the island from their own home.

“I definitely prefer to adopt, that is without a doubt, than going in a place to buy one,” said  Millie Depaoni, who is planning to get a new pet Friday.

Depaoni brought her two children from school to look for another rescue dog for the family. They have had Sophie a year now and she says they are certain they will find the right fit from this pack of pups.

“I know this is going on in Puerto Rico and so we are trying to come back this weekend, ” Depaoni said.

Wachter hopes others come out and adopt a new furry friends, too.

“I have to say one is cuter than the next,” she said. “We hope that the South Florida community is going to open up their hearts and their homes to these animals and give them the homes they deserve.”

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100 dogs, cats arrive in South Florida from Puerto Rico

Dozens of animals from Puerto Rico arrived Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale.

The 75 dogs and 25 cats were flown to South Florida after Save a Sato, the shelter that housed them on the island, was destroyed during Hurricane Maria.

“This is the largest number of animals we’ve ever taken from them at one time,” Humane Society of Broward County spokeswoman Cherie Wachter said.

Wachter said the shelter in Puerto Rico has no electricity, and pictures on the Save a Sato Facebook page show that its roof was blown off by the storm.

“So by taking these animals, it will help free up time and place for those individuals so that they can rebuild their lives,” Wachter said. “They have to rebuild. They have to rebuild what they had, and hopefully it will be stronger and better.”

This is the second animal rescue flight landing in South Florida from the island.

The four-legged evacuees are now at the Humane Society of Broward County and hopefully headed for a new forever home on the mainland.

Wachter said the animals will be checked by a veterinarian and then be made available for adoption beginning this weekend.

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100 dogs, cats arrive in South Florida from Puerto Rico

A hundred animals were evacuated Wednesday from Puerto Rico and brought to Fort Lauderdale.

The 75 dogs and 25 cats came over after the shelter that housed them on the island, Save a Sato, was destroyed during Hurricane Maria.

“It’s overwhelming,” said Cherie Wachter, of the Broward Humane Society. “This is the largest number of animals we’ve ever taken from them at one time.”

Wachter said the shelter the animals came from has no power. And pictures on the Save a Sato Facebook page show that its roof was blown off by the storm.

“So by taking these animals, it will help free up time and place for those individuals so that they can rebuild their lives,” Wachter said. “They have to rebuild what they have so they have to be stronger and better.”

This is the second animal rescue flight landing in South Florida from the island.

The four-legged evacuees are now at the Broward County Humane Society and hopefully  headed for a new forever home here on the mainland.

“Tomorrow these animals will be checked by a vet, to be made available for adoption at the Broward County Humane Society, starting this weekend, ” Wachter said.

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Man, 90, still displaced after tree crushes home during Irma

Despite a claim filed with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a man remains homeless even one month after Hurricane Irma.

“I ain’t got nowhere else to go,” said Oscar Adderly, 90, whose home of 50 years was crushed by a tree during last month’s storm.

The tree still sits in the same spot after crashing through Adderly’s bedroom and bathroom. Adderly’s daughter, Lorraine Williams, said she filed a claim for him the day after the hurricane.

“It’s hard for him,” Williams said. “It’s hard for him because he’s used to his own place.”

The Adderlys said they haven’t heard back from FEMA. Wait times have been two to three hours, and every time Williams gets close, the phone line disconnects, she said. 

Adderly is in a tough predicament because he’s without insurance.

The tree belongs to his neighbor, who is insured, but he can’t afford the deductible. The family is desperate.

“It’s crazy,” Williams said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s sad. He’s 90 years old.”

Local 10 10 called FEMA. Adderly and his family were able to meet with FEMA officials Wednesday.
 
At last check, the family planned on arranging for someone to come out and cut the tree out of the house in the coming days. A FEMA adjuster is expected in about two weeks, relatives said.

FEMA officials said the delay was likely due to a paperwork issue.

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