Hurricane Maria was “the fifth strongest hurricane to hit the United States” and was Puerto Rico’s largest natural disaster in over a century. Maria left a trail of devastation across Puerto Rico, leaving thousands of families homeless and more than 15,000 people are in temporary shelters, the entire power grid is offline, cellular communications are scarce and over 70% of the island is without water service. Hospitals are running low on medical supplies. Emergency relief and the long-term recovery efforts will take months, and in some areas, years.
As a result, thousands of families are choosing to leave everything and move to the mainland. Due to the large Puerto Rican community in Florida, families are showing up at Florida airports with only a small suitcase of personal items and no place to go. Support is also needed for these evacuees as they seek to relocate for the time being among our Florida communities.