Generators, other supplies flown to Puerto Rico from South Florida

Officials say hospitals in greatest need

By Madeleine Wright - Reporter

OPA-LOCKA, Fla. - The state of Florida is doing what it can to help Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria struck the island.

Officials say the greatest need is at hospitals, where the lack of electricity puts more lives in danger each day. 

A charter plane took off Friday morning from Miami Opa-locka Executive Airport for Puerto Rico with 50 generators on board.

The nonprofit Aids Healthcare Foundation is donating them to health care centers with no power.

"We're very hopeful this will be the first step in providing some of the power, if you will, to help bring some level of normalcy to the lives of the people of Puerto Rico," foundation spokesman Imara Canady said. 

The U.S. territory is struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria, which made landfall a week and a half ago.

"We know everyday citizens can provide the water and things like that, which are absolutely necessary, but as a public health organization, we can provide some of these resources as well," Canady said. 

Supplies collected by Spirit Airlines will also be sent to Puerto Rico on Friday. 

The mission is personal for employee Tony Velez, who still can't get in touch with his family on the island.

"I've had sleepless nights, just thinking about my family," he said. 

Some aid groups in South Florida collected so many donations for Puerto Rico that they're turning people away.

"A lot of people are trying to help, but they're actually flooding the port and that's why they had to stop," one man said. 

Many people have also been arriving at Miami International Airport after they were evacuated from Puerto Rico.

Gov. Rick Scott visited the island Thursday and offered his help.

"We'll be organizing efforts by problem, whether it's food and water -- whatever it is that can be helpful," he said. 

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