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Facilities at the Disaster Assistance Center that serves the victims of Hurricane Maria in Philadelphia, located at 3201 N. 5th St. Philadelphia, PA 19140. Photo: Samantha Laub / AL DÍA News
Facilities at the Disaster Assistance Center that serves the victims of Hurricane Maria in Philadelphia, located at 3201 N. 5th St. Philadelphia, PA 19140. Photo: Samantha Laub / AL DÍA News

Nearly 1,000 Hurricane María victims have been treated in Philadelphia

According to information provided by the Office of Emergency Management of Philadelphia (OEM), a shelter is the most pressing need that families from Puerto…

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After the catastrophic passage of Hurricane Maria over Puerto Rico on September 20 - after which the entire electrical system was rendered useless, the potable water service seriously affected and the road infrastructure severely damaged - the migration of islanders to continental lands has skyrocketed.

The exodus, which some project will wrestle almost half a million people from the Puerto Rican population in the next two years, is the story of a community hit on all sides. Florida has received more than 90,000 Puerto Ricans since the beginning of October, a figure that accounts for a new and more dramatic chapter of the Puerto Rican Diaspora.

In Pennsylvania, and more exactly in Philadelphia, that story is already becoming known in the voices of those who are arriving.

From the beginning of October until November 10, the Office of Emergency Management of the Mayor's Office of Philadelphia (OEM) attended 973 people, 456 families, who approached the affected care post at the Rivera Recreation Center (5 street with Allegheny) by different entities of the local administration and civic organizations.

According to spokespersons of the OEM, the most pressing need faced by those who arrive is the shelter. Many have family and friends to stay with, but there is still a large number who remain in temporary shelters made available by the Transient Housing Assistance program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA.

Indeed, the director of the OEM, Dan Bradley, made a call to the hotels of the city so that they register in the program of FEMA and thus be able to assure conditions of decent lodging to the victims of the hurricane coming from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The government entities that participate in the process of receiving and supporting the victims are the OEM, FEMA, PEMA, the Salvation Army, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Human Services, the United States Small Business Association and Philadelphia Medical Reverse Corps.

Efforts to bring relief to Puerto Ricans are not just from local, regional and federal governments. The civil society of Philadelphia - especially the Puerto Rican community in the city - has mobilized hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring aid to the island.

At the end of October, the organizers of the Unidos Pa'PR campaign raised $ 200,000 in donations. That weekend, several members of the campaign traveled to the island on humanitarian missions that can be followed through the @UnidosPaPuertoRico account of Facebook.

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