TRENTON, NJ – “Puerto Rico needs our help’” Senator Nellie Pou (D-Paterson) said in a statement following Tuesday’s 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck the island. “They need our help, as a nation and as individuals, to pick up the shattered pieces, rebuild the island and heal from the wounds of these compounding disasters.”

“My heart goes out to the people of Puerto Rico in this time of fear and uncertainty. From near economic collapse to Hurricane Maria to this latest string of earthquakes, the people of Puerto Rico, our fellow Americans, have been assaulted by an astonishing level of physical and emotional trauma, hardship and danger.”

Fifth Ward Councilman Luis Velez has been working the phones non-stop since the earthquake struck, including by speaking extensively with his son, a police officer on the island, and a local mayor.

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"The needs are different this time," then when Hurricane Maria struck, Velez told TAPinto Paterson, adding that he and his colleagues, Council President Martiza Davila and Councilman Flavio Rivera, as well as Mayor Andre Sayegh, will be establishing a drop off point for needed items such as batteries and water.

Paterson leaders and residents have rallied for Puerto Rico in the past, making significant contributions to relief efforts after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September, 2017, causing more than $85 billion in damage. Included in the efforts were the work of six Paterson police officers who spent weeks using their own time, to deliver over 500,000 pounds of food and supplies and helping to begin the rebuilding process by replacing roofs and chopping trees.

In another show support more than 250 guests gathered at an event hosted by Paterson Partners with Puerto Rico, raising more than $20,000 that had been closed because of the damage.

Pou, who also serves as Chair of Legislative Latino Caucus said that she and her fellow legislators would do everything they can to contribute to Puerto Rico’s recovery and urged Congress, FEMA, and the White House to do the same.

“My thoughts are with the people who have lost their homes, their businesses, water and electricity and I pray that everyone can remain safe and secure in the days to come as tremors continue to shake the fragile island.”