Puerto Ricans in the Grand Strand worry about loved ones amid Hurricane Fiona

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 9:19 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 11:31 PM EDT
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SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Dr. Luis Ramos, chiropractor and owner of The Chiropractic and Wellness Studio in Surfside Beach, is the only member of his family that lives outside of Puerto Rico.

As Hurricane Fiona made landfall on Sunday, Ramos said he and many other Puerto Ricans are reliving what was Hurricane Maria that hit the island five years ago.

“Once I got to know about this news, I told my wife, it’s going to happen again,” said Ramos. “They’re going to have to struggle again with no electricity everybody is going to be running to the stores and ravaging everything they can get to be able to prepare because of what happened five years ago.”

Hurricane Fiona swamped the island with devastation and historical levels of rainfall and currently, 90% of Puerto Ricans are without power, according to the American Red Cross.

To help assist Puerto Ricans, the Eastern South Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross has set up 122 shelters around the island.

Executive Director of Eastern South Carolina Chapter Michael Hesbach said their volunteers are actively working to assist those on the island.

“Five years ago today, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico and we support that effort greatly and the long-term recovery issues that we did there was we outfitted 150 schools with solar panels,” said Hesbach.

Ramos said this is a very difficult time for those that live on the island or for people like him who live elsewhere and still have family in Puerto Rico dealing with disaster.

But he said these are times that they all have to stick together and take care of each other.

“I have that are from Puerto Rico here, so I’m letting them know that if they do need to ship anything back to Puerto Rico if they need any help, some of my family members are doing well,” Ramos expressed. “So, just letting them know that if they need a helping hand on the island from someone that is not struggling as much, they can always reach out to me.”

Donations can be made here to support Disaster Relief. The American Red Cross has major relief operations in Alaska, Puerto Rico and out west to assist families and provide relief during the wildfires in California.