From NYS Capitol to San Juan

September 27, 2017 11:42 PM

ALBANY - As the humanitarian crisis grows, and the desperate pleas for help continue to bombard social media, Governor Andrew Cuomo made it clear on Wednesday that what ever New Yorkers can do for Puerto Rico, will be done.

In a tropical paradise, the white sand beaches and majestic palms have been replaced by devastation, misery, and heartbreak. Many pleas of desperation from the decimated island have gone viral on the internet.

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"The hospital has no generators," one Puerto Rican man posted on Facebook, "People are dying, they can't perform surgery on people, please share this video."

In many pockets of the Capital Region, those pleas are being addressed. In Amsterdam, for example, Denise and Elizabeth Diaz have been collecting supplies at their home since Hurricane Maria ravaged their homeland.

"I can't sit down," Elizabeth Diaz says, "I can not imagine sitting down and having a plate of food knowing these people are hungry."

"I love my people," Denise Diaz adds, "I try to think about what every day there has been like. I put myself in their shoes."

Felix Perez of Albany send News Channel 13 a video of his Uncle Johnny Toro trekking through the Puerto Rican jungle to help rebuild the electrical infrastructure.

To meet the needs of 3.4 million Puerto Ricans, New York State is also stepping up to the plate.

"We have to do everything we can," Governor Andrew Cuomo said, Wednesday morning at a New York City news conference, "It's terrible. I've seen the scenes in the newspaper. I've seen it on tv. We need to take action."

The governor announced on Wednesday that 60 additional National Guard soldiers will be sent to the island, along with 120 military police, 100 state troopers, 125 engineers, and 30 DOT employees including truck drivers.

On the supply side, the state is sending:

* More than 22,000 half-liter bottles of water and 288 gallon containers of water

* 2,000 canned food items

* 1,500 packages of feminine products

* 17,000 baby wipes

* 4,000 packages of baby diapers

* 1,100 containers of disinfectant wipes

* Batteries, flashlights, first aid kits and personal hygiene items

"This is personal," the governor asserts, "This is about helping family members and there is nothing that we won't do."

Also heading to Puerto Rico is millions of private monetary donations from New Yorkers across the state, and not just from wealthy New Yorkers.

"It's amazing how many people who are poor themselves and don't have a lot of resources themselves are really scraping to make contributions for the people of Puerto Rico," the governor points out.

The governor also points out it's harder to execute a relief effort in Puerto Rico then in Texas or Florida because "Puerto Rico has financial issues to begin with," and they're an island that is isolated.

"The cost (to New Yorkers) is very little," the governor added, "because (emergency expenses) are federally reimburable."





Dan Levy

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