Perth Amboy organizes relief efforts for Puerto Rico earthquake victims

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Relief efforts are underway in Perth Amboy to help the people of Puerto Rico after a series of devastating earthquakes.

Monday marked day 2 of the effort to collect essential supplies to be shipped down to the island – essentials that are often taken for granted.

"They were starting to rebuild slowly, Puerto Rico after Maria, Hurricane Maria, and now to have this happening, the earthquakes, it's really unsettling,” says Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz. “It's really disheartening that people are living in this fear."

Diaz says that within a matter of days after the earthquakes, her city was in contact with a shipping company to get the goods sent to Puerto Rico, as well as organizing a donation city at the community center.

“A lot of our people are outside in tents, in campsites,” says Puerto Rico resident Jannifer Carmona. “It’s really bad, it’s really bad. So, the help that’s coming is going to be very useful for us.”

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Carmona lives in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, one of the four southern cities the donations are being sent to. She moved back home to the island from Perth Amboy after Hurricane Maria. She says that she and families in her neighborhood now resort to sleeping in their cars out of fear that their homes will collapse on them. They say that they know when an earthquake is coming just by the noise.

"And the noise, it sounds like an awful noise that it makes before the earthquake hits. So, it's like goosebumps through your body, you know? So, it's like we're in a panic. A lot of people say, 'You have to learn to live with it,' you need to be here in order for you to experience this,” Carmona says.

The supplies that are needed include toiletries and medical supplies such as hand sanitizer, first aid kits, bug spray, rubbing alcohol and diapers for children and adults. Dental products and soap are also needed.

Perth Amboy resident Carmen Mascenik says she has family on the island.

“I always believe in our city and the help that we give to them, so I believe in giving to others, even it it’s a little bit,” she says.

The goal is to have the items shipped out later this week or early next week.

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