Puerto Rican Day to shine light on hurricane struggle

Cuomo blames racism for weak federal response to Hurricane Maria victims

Memorial of shoes honors thousands of Hurricane Maria victims feared dead in Puerto RicoBut this year's parade has a particularly profound meaning as the island of Puerto Rico continues to recover from the devastation left behind by Hurricane Maria.

The celebration planned for Sunday will have the usual floats, musicians and brightly colored costumes.

Saying that "the Island is still reeling from the storm and is expected to for several years", Senator Nellie Pou (D-Paterson) who has been active in several efforts to provide relief, and traveled to the island in February, encouraged evacuees to attend the session to acquaint themselves with resources "available to them here in New Jersey, whether they intend to make New Jersey their new permanent home, or return to Puerto Rico".

Ortiz, 53, of Brooklyn, and other paradegoers voiced frustration over what they said was an underreporting of the death toll in Puerto Rico and a tepid emergency response by the administration of President Trump.

The official death count from the hurricane is 64, even though a recent study by Harvard University and Puerto Rico's Carlos Albizu University estimates that there were as many as 4,645 hurricane-related deaths, many of them attributable to the collapse of the electric power grid.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Manhattan City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson were among the dignitaries on hand for the event.

"This is a year where Puerto Rico has been devastated", said Louis Maldonado, chairman of the board that oversees the parade and its affiliated events. She said she has been coming to the parade since she was a toddler.

Still, many people were stunned by survey results published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine that found the September 20 storm's death toll could be 70 times the official estimate. "I'm just exhausted of the way my island has been treated".

'They said, 'Great. We can work on our tans.' And I said, 'Not exactly. That led some sponsors to withdraw their support and some politicians like Cuomo to decline to take part. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz led a contingent clad in black tee shirts commanding onlookers to Remember!

"Puerto Ricans are American citizens, we especially need to be there for them in their time of need", Pou told TAPinto Paterson continuing to say that there are still 100,000 people without electricity and 55,000 living in temporary shelters.

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