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Humboldt Park residents aim to help Puerto Rico after devastation from Hurricane Fiona

Humboldt Park aim to help loved ones in Puerto Rico after another devastating hurricane
Humboldt Park aim to help loved ones in Puerto Rico after another devastating hurricane 03:05

CHICAGO (CBS) – Hurricane Fiona made landfall on Monday in the Dominican Republic, leaving behind flooding and damage in the streets.

Also in Puerto Rico, more than a million people are without power. The flooding there is also catastrophic after Fiona slammed into the island over the weekend. The power could take days to repair.

Rescuers are scrambling to save hundreds of people trapped by rising water.

CBS 2's Marybel Gonzalez went to Humboldt Park where volunteers were already working on relief efforts.

Many of the residents in the neighborhood have close ties to Puerto Rico. They've been meeting to strategize on how to best help an island still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria which struck almost five years to the date.

"It's horrible. I see everybody is down today," Vanessa Massas said of her Humboldt Park neighborhood, that woke up less vibrant on Monday after many residents lost touch with their loved ones on the island after the hurricane made landfall over the weekend.

"We don't know how devastating it is just yet," Massas said. "We got like a little bits and pieces (of information)."

The category 1 hurricane caused catastrophic flooding and an island-wide blackout affecting hundreds of thousands of people, including Massas' family.

"My daughter's grandmother, she's in the hospital. They have no current running water, no electricity," Massas said. "She's stable for right now. She had a stroke."

It's a waiting game to assess the damage and when power will be restored, but like others, Massas is ready to send help from Chicago.

"We're trying to figure out what we can do," she said.

In 2017, she was among the Chicagoans who volunteered to send goods to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria slammed into the island.

Also involved in relief efforts to help those devastated by that storm were community organizations like the Puerto Rican Agenda of Chicago.

"In Puerto Rico, we have to understand what lack of power, what does that translate to? That means we're not able to keep medication stored appropriately," said Jessie Fuentes, co-chair of Puerto Rican Agenda. "That means we don't have any clean water. That means patients in hospitals that don't have back-up generators need to be transferred."

The organization said it's ready to jump into action once again as soon as leaders and organizers in Puerto Rico send word on what is needed.

"We're strategizing," Fuentes said. "We don't want to be a burden to Puerto Rico or send unnecessary items. We want to be able to do exactly what the people of Puerto Rico need."

Five years ago, Chicagoans sent almost half a million dollars in relief. On Tuesday, organizers are expecting to know more about how people can help in the wake of this hurricane.

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