CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - After escaping the catastrophe, Puerto Rican families started arriving in Northeast Ohio looking for a better life.
Annie, Osvaldo, and their two daughters arrived in Cleveland this past weekend.
In less than 3 years, they survived hurricanes Irma, Maria, and now over 500 earthquakes in the last two weeks.
Two of the earthquakes were deadly, and all of them with the epicenter in their hometown of Guánica.
Their community school was in shambles.
Their home was severely damaged.
Their life was marked forever.
“It was horrible.. horrible… horrible.. when we were waiting in line to get some food seeing some people sleeping in couches… crying… desperate because it was shaking very often…” Annie said in Spanish.
Rosa Cruz and other local leaders are now working non-stop to help those in need in both Puerto Rico, and the mainland.
“They come with nothing. So, it’s very important to provide those first need things,” Cruz said.
Over 300 families are now homeless.
Governor Wanda Vazquez is requesting an emergency declaration from the president.
That request is still under consideration almost a week later, according to the agency.
“There are a lot of resources that are really held back from us as a community on the island and we need to start holding our elected officials accountable from those resources that are getting held hostage from us,” said community leader Selina Pagán.
More families who now live to tell their stories will soon arrive in Cleveland grateful to be alive, but broken inside for the relatives and life they left behind.
19 News Bilingual Reporter Jorge Ramos Pantoja is joining forces with local leaders to help those families affected both in our area and Puerto Rico.
If you would like to help with a donation of clothes, gift cards, or food, you can reach out to Jorge directly through social media or email.