Buffalo woman calls for help for Puerto Rico

Residents line up gas cans as they wait for a gas truck to service an empty gas station, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Federal aid is racing to stem a growing humanitarian crisis in towns left without fresh water, fuel, electricity or phone service by the hurricane. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Buffalo woman who just returned from a trip to Puerto Rico says people there still need help more than a month and a half after Hurricane Maria tore through the U.S. Territory.

Omayra Gonzalez from Buffalo booked her ticket to her hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico just two days before Hurricane Maria hit.

More than a month later, she finally made it home. She describes what she saw as a scene from a horror movie.

She said, “At night, it’s like you are living in a cave. You can’t even see your hand nothing.”

Omayra Gonzalez says people are living in the dark near San Juan.

She said, “The cars, there are no street lights, so cars going all over, and it’s difficult to drive there at night very difficult.”

She was there for a week visiting her parents in a rural part of San Juan.

From flooded streets to down trees and power lines. Gonzalez says she doesn’t recognize her hometown. “It was very very heartbreaking to see my family suffering, like that.”

It’s been two months since her father has been able to receive chemotherapy treatments. He is fighting stage 3 liver cancer. But with over crowded hospitals working without electricity, he can’t get the help he needs.

She said, “He is very, very sick, but they are very strong. Puerto Ricans are people that no matter what happens, we are going to survive no matter what.”

A month and a half after Maria, Gonzalez also donated her time to the Red Cross delivering water to elderly people stuck at home.

She says there is still a great need for help and everyone is in survivor mode.

If you’d like to help, fundraisers are happening here in Buffalo.

The Olvencia Center on Swan Street is hosting a Puerto Rico relief Domino tournament.

261 Swan Street
Buffalo, 14204 

(716) 829-3605

Deep South Taco will host a Puerto Rican hurricane relief party Thursday from 6-8pm. Find out more here. 

You can also donate through the American Red Cross. You can find more information here. 


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