Local Puerto Ricans worried as Maria nears island

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- With Hurricane Maria approaching, residents in Puerto Rico are getting ready to face the second major hurricane in two weeks.

Some schools and government offices have already shut down and lines are forming outside gas stations, grocery, and hardware stores.

There was a growing sense of concern in the crowd at City Hall on Monday celebrating the beginning of Puerto Rican Heritage Week at.

Christian Perez's family is on the island. He said if the bridges become inundated there is no way for his family to get out of the mountains.

"Stay safe and we're praying for you here," Perez said.

Roberto Lugo also has family on the island. He said everyone is trying to clean up after Hurricane Irma.

"30 percent of the population still doesn't have electricity," Lugo said.

But that's all been put on hold. They said Puerto Ricans are now getting ready for powerful Maria that's a Category 4 and could get stronger. Perez said this is something the island simply cannot handle.

"[It] will probably decimate the infrastructure we have there now," Perez said.

City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchezz agreed that too much of the island is already badly damaged.

"There's about a million people with unstable water and electrical conditions. They're saying it's going to take months," Quinones-Sanchezz said.

Now she asking Philadelphians to open their hearts. Quinones-Sanchezz said the damage after Maria could be catastrophic.

"We are working with the government of Puerto Rico. We started a committee called Todos PA'PR two weeks ago and we have been taking advantage of the normally scheduled Puerto Rican events to collect," Quinones-Sanchezz said.
Officials have teamed up with the nonprofits to collect cash and make one big donation after the storms pass through.

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