Supplies gathered for Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico

Water bottles, canned foods among items collected

By Liane Morejon - Reporter

MIAMI LAKES, Fla. - The Ana G. Mendez University Campus in Miami Lakes has become a hub for volunteers from several agencies that are banding together for hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

There were stacks of bottled water, diapers, canned foods and other supplies Sunday afternoon to be sent to the U.S. territory. 

"Everybody in South Florida has helped us," Natascha Otero Santiago, an organizer for the donations, said. "Since Friday, we have been receiving donations and we have possibly 20 to 25 tons (of supplies)."

Volunteers are now needed at a warehouse at 333 NW 67th St. to assist with the loading and unloading of supplies.

Hurricane Maria devastated the island by knocking out power and impacting the water supply.

At least 10 people have died in the storm’s aftermath, and authorities are starting to see firsthand the scope of devastation that left the island off the grid.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello met with more than 50 mayors and representatives from across Puerto Rico on Saturday. Some described the conditions in their communities as "apocalyptic" and said there have been incidents of looting in both homes and stores.

"We know a little more today than we did yesterday," Rossello said. "This is going to be a long road."

On the northwest part of the island, authorities had to physically go to thousands of residents to warn them of a potential dam collapse near the Guajataca River.

Volunteers are hoping to help those on the island get back on their feet.

Anyone who donates water is discouraged from donating large gallon bottles due the difficulty of transporting them. Instead, cases of smaller bottles are preferred.