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Puerto Rican natives in Connecticut heartbroken over hurricane Maria

HARTFORD --  Connecticut’s own Puerto Rican community waited anxiously to hear from loved ones while Hurricane Maria charged through their native country.

Maria Martinez spent the day Wednesday glued to a radio feed from Puerto Rico.  She has been feverishly checking the news and her cell phone ever since the hurricane made landfall over her native country.

“This morning when I woke up around 4 o’clock in the morning, I just grabbed my cell phone and just immediately checking to see what happen.” Martinez said.

She also was searching through pictures of the damage to find images of her home town of Aguas Buenas.  Her brother, sister and their families are still there and rode out the storm.

“I wish I was there right now, I was there with my family, just being there present with them,” Martinez said.  Her emotions were building as she watched the brunt of the storm go crashing directly through her hometown.

Martinez said she has sent text and Facebook messages to her loved ones in Puerto Rico, but has not heard back from them since Hurricane Maria hit the island.

“The waiting part is the tough part in every situation, it’s the waiting, um, my heart want to be there not here,” Martinez added.

In the meantime, there was an emergency meeting held by a newly formed hurricane relief committee, made up of leaders of Connecticut’s Puerto Rican community. The group met to come up with a plan to hold a fundraiser to aid in Puerto Rico’s hurricane relief efforts.

“Our purpose here is to coordinate the 300,000 Connecticut based Puerto Ricans that are going to want to help their families back home and making sure that they have a way to get involved here, but also that their efforts are put to good use and funds are going to the right places,” said Jason Ortiz, President of the Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda.

During the meeting, the committee spoke to the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration over the phone to hear directly from the source what the country needs by way of donations.

The details of the fundraiser are still being decided.