NJ residents fear for loved ones’ safety as Dorian approaches Puerto Rico

Posted: Updated:

As Hurricane Dorian approaches Puerto Rico, people in New Jersey say that they fear for the safety of loved ones who live on the island.

Dorian is expected to bring heavy rain, strong winds and high surf to Puerto Rico – an island still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

"Our concern is for our families. Puerto Rico as it is right now, they still have residents that are living in tarps,” says Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz.

Diaz, like many residents of Perth Amboy, has family members near the San Sebastian area of Puerto Rico. Diaz says that this area is still recovering from Maria. She says that homes are still not repaired, streets are impassable and that the power grid is compromised.

RELATED: Dorian aims for US, causes limited damage in Caribbean 

“Any type of storm or hurricane that hits the island, already because they’re so fragile, can have an impact,” the mayor says. "We’ve got a double whammy. We saw what happened with Superstorm Sandy here in the city of Perth Amboy and then a couple of years later we see what happens with Maria.”

News 12 New Jersey spoke with Diaz at the Perth Amboy waterfront – an area that was badly damaged by Sandy. The mayor says that her experience rebuilding the waterfront is what brought her to Puerto Rico after Maria to help them begin the long process of rebuilding.

Diaz says that Sandy and Maria serve as a good warning to take hurricanes seriously.

"We take heed to these warnings. Right now, we cannot chance it, because we understand how important it is to keep [ourselves] safe and our families. But now, it really has been a change of the quality of life of our community in Puerto Rico. That they no longer could not pay attention to when these warnings come,” she says.

The mayor says that she has been in touch with the mayor of San Sebastian and promises to help in any way possible – just like after Maria.

Dorian could strike Florida as a Category 3 storm.


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