President Donald Trump is sending thoughts and prayers to the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and plans to visit the American territories that were devastated by Hurricane Maria. He amended his disaster declaration for Puerto Rico to provide 100 percent funding toward disaster relief.
Meanwhile, efforts are underway here in Houston to help ship supplies to the island nations.
The city's Puerto Rican population includes current Astros Carlos Beltran, Carlos Correa and others. Beltran and his wife already chipped in $1 million of their own money to kick start a fundraising campaign for Puerto Rico.
The Astros Foundation also sent six truck-loads containing 240,000 pounds of supplies scheduled to arrive on the island nation Wednesday.
The Puerto Rican and Cuban Festival production team has started operation Texas United for Puerto Rico and will be coordinating a donation drive on September 30 at four Fiesta Marts in the Houston area.
Meanwhile, Astros legend Jose Cruz still lives in Houston, but is now anxiously awaiting news from friends and family in his home country.
“They're alive, that's the main thing, they're alive,” says Cruz. “The other stuff is material, but I still worry about it because I don't know what is going to happen, they say there won't be electricity in Puerto Rico for six to eight months, that's a long time.”
“In my hometown, they're living in schools,” he says. “I hear that 55 to 70 percent of the town are living churches or in schools. I also see kids in the airport, young 2 and 3-years-old, the mothers and fathers are having problems taking care of kids.”
Houston resident Dagmar Lopez is hoping U.S. officials respond to Puerto Rico the same way they did after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas.
“I know for the Harvey situation, Puerto Rico sent a rescue team to Houston to help,” she says. “So now I hope people will find it in their hearts to help us out and put pressure on the government to help my country.”
“Our men fight in the military, we pay taxes, everything that we do is U.S., it's American.”