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Mayor de Blasio Visits NYC Emergency Management Warehouse; Announces Additional Staff Deployments to Assist with Hurricane Recovery

October 5, 2017

DSNY, DOB and HPD personnel to deploy to support recovery efforts in Puerto Rico

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito today visited the New York City Emergency Management warehouse in Brooklyn where hundreds of critically-needed items donated by New Yorkers for Hurricane Maria relief are being sorted for shipment. The five donated items – baby food, feminine hygiene products, first aid supplies, and batteries – were collected drop-off locations across the City and then delivered to the warehouse to be packaged and delivered to Puerto Rico. The Mayor also announced 53 additional staff deployments to assist with the relief and recovery efforts. 

“New Yorkers have shown a great deal of generosity and support for Puerto Rico,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We’ve collected tens of thousands of items and donations will be accepted through the end of the month. For those who are able to do so, the most effective thing to do right now is donate cash.”

“The Puerto Rico that we all know, the Puerto Rico that I grew up in, is not the Puerto Rico we see today. Hurricane Maria has left the Puerto Rican people in complete devastation, and they continue to be in need of as much resources as possible. It is unfathomable the federal government is not doing enough to help American citizens, but we in New York will step up to the plate and support our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico. I join the Mayor in continuing to call for donations and volunteers, and I extend my gratitude to anyone who helps contribute to relief efforts. My thoughts continue to be with Puerto Rico during this difficult time, and I want to stress that we here in New York City will offer help however possible,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

New York City will continue to collect donations through October 31 at 24 firehouses and EMS stations, and every NYPD precinct, transit agency and police service area across the five boroughs. Only donations of batteries, diapers, feminine hygiene products, first aid supplies and baby food will be accepted at these drop-off sites. Donations will be accepted during the hours of 7 AM through 9 PM. 

To date, 265 pallets of donated items have been collected and are being packaged for shipment at the New York City Emergency Management warehouse in Brooklyn. Items collected include approximately 12,800 cases of diapers; 23,800 cases of feminine hygiene products; 1,200 first aid kits; 3,600 cases of baby food and 8,800 packs of batteries. Thousands of these items have already arrived in Puerto Rico.

Mayor de Blasio today also announced the deployment of 22 workers from the Department of Buildings and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to conduct inspections of buildings impacted by the hurricane. Additionally, 31 workers from the Department of Sanitation will deploy to assist the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) in coordinating a debris management support team to assist in debris clearance and disposal operations.

These teams are deploying following a request by FEMA and the Governor of Puerto Rico through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). EMAC is the national emergency management mutual aid system that facilitates state-to-state disaster assistance. The DOB and HPD teams will depart for Puerto Rico on a United Airlines flight from Newark International, while the DSNY team will depart JFK airport on a JetBlue flight.

As of today, 158 City workers are in Puerto Rico:

  • 30 FDNY and NYPD personnel who are members of the Urban Search and Rescue New York Task Force 1, which was deployed to Puerto Rico by FEMA.
  • 64 members of FDNY’s Incident Management Team, who are assisting with logistics, planning, and personnel coordination and were deployed at FEMA’s request, as well as 6 members of FDNY’s Special Operations Command who are providing communications support to the Incident Management Team.
  • 27 emergency management workers, including the 10 deployed to assist the Commonwealth and 17 who are already working with the City of San Juan to manage recovery operations and coordinate logistics.
  • 9 members of the NYPD Hispanic Society, who are in San Juan assisting with emergency operations, helping set up the distribution center and interfacing with the Puerto Rican Police Department.
  • 15 members of the FDNY Hispanic Society who are assisting with the distribution center and providing translation services.
  • 2 Department of Buildings staffers with expertise in building inspections.
  • 2 DCAS staffers and 2 Parks staffers deployed to assist with commodities distribution.
  • 1 member of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit assisting with the distribution center and interfacing with community groups.

The City is collecting monetary donations through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. These funds will be distributed to organizations working to support the 3.5 million Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean residents who have been impacted by this storm. City workers now have the option to make a donation directly from their paychecks to Hurricane Maria relief efforts. 

The City is also collecting donations of critically needed items at 24 firehouses and EMS stations across the five boroughs. Only donations of batteries, diapers, feminine hygiene products, first aid supplies and baby food will be accepted at these drop-off sites. Donations will be accepted during the hours of 7 AM through 9 PM.

“New York and Puerto Rico are inextricably linked.  To New Yorkers, Puerto Ricans are family, for some figuratively and, for many of us, literally. Given the scope of Hurricane Maria’s devastation, Puerto Rico needs all the help it can get. I commend the Mayor for his leadership in this area and thank all New Yorkers who are contributing to these vital relief efforts,” said U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velázquez.

As we enter day 14 since Hurricane Maria first made landfall, millions of citizens in Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean continue to face perilous life and death challenges,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “As they repair and rebuild, it is critical that New Yorkers continue to stand with all who have been affected by these catastrophic storms – as they are our friends, relatives, colleagues and an extension of our community here at home. Puerto Rico will rebuild and New Yorkers will continue to be there every step along the way. The outpour of support, through donations big and small, has been invaluable as we stand in solidarity to help our brothers and sisters repair and rebuild during this critical time in history and each of our lives.”

“The situation in Puerto Rico is dire and the response from the White House has been insufficient. If the Administration will not stand-up to help our fellow citizens in their moment of crisis, New Yorkers have shown they will,” said U.S. Representative Eliot Engel. “The outpouring of support I have personally witnessed from my constituents has been nothing short of extraordinary. City and State officials are working hand in hand with us at the federal level to gather and transport supplies. Union workers have filled up school buses with water, food, and clothing for drop-off at collection locations. And every day individuals are donating more than their fair share to help those in need. This is the true spirit of New York and it is on display in every corner of our city. We must continue this herculean effort and make sure additional aid makes its way to the Caribbean as soon as possible.”

“After Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico, I asked New Yorkers to help our fellow Americans on the island, and I’m proud that so many in our city have stepped up to do so. The generous support that New Yorkers have provided reinforces the special bond that exists between our city and the people of Puerto Rico, and I thank Mayor de Blasio for coordinating this important relief effort. Last week, I spearheaded legislation to permit waiving the Jones Act for humanitarian relief efforts, and I will continue to do all I can in Congress to ensure that Puerto Rico receives all the help it deserves,” said U.S. Representative Grace Meng.

“Many of us have been in a dark place this week. To see New Yorkers coming together for the people of Puerto Rico and the victims of Hurricane Maria is a welcomed ray of hope. It is an important gesture for us all. Its proof that we can make an impact and that there is no shortage of people who will come when asked for help. New Yorkers, Puertorriqueños, and all Americans need to know that today, and every day after, as we press on, rebuild and recoup,” Senator Martin Dilan said. 

“When and wherever disaster strikes, New York City responds. I am so impressed with the outpouring of donations that have flowed into my office and to a recent Bronx major collection effort for the victims in Puerto Rico and Mexico.  And now the city is responding with volunteers, police, fire and other responders with boots on the ground to help. I urge my fellow New Yorkers to respond by donating the specific items that are now needed to help bring relief in these terrible disasters. We are the city with a heart,” Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda said.

“I have been working around the clock on hurricane assistance efforts. My office has been collecting and shipping thousands of items to Puerto Rico, especially the medical supplies to those badly in need. Let's continue to make effort to assist our brothers and sisters at this time of crisis,” said Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix Ortiz.

“New Yorkers have once again stepped up with love and compassion for our friends, family members and neighbors in Puerto Rico. I’m proud of the work of  our agencies, DOB, DCAS, HPD, FDNY, DSNY and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, to clear and dispose of debris, inspect buildings for safety and work with Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency to ensure that the 42 pallets of supplies donated by New Yorkers reach people in need. New York and Puerto Rico are united and we will never forget this,” Council Member Fernando Cabrera said.

“Our American family in Puerto Rico deserves all of the support we can give,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “As a New Yorker I know firsthand the impact Puerto Ricans have had on our culture, economy and values. I commend Mayor de Blasio for staying committed to providing aid and doing all New York City can to step up in this time of need.”

“As individuals and as a City we must respond to the needs of Puerto Rico with generosity and creativity. Neighbors are banding together in neighborhoods like Sunset Park and Bushwick to make monetary donations and collect volumes of desperately needed materials,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “Our City government has opened firehouses, EMS stations and City agencies to accept donations. We must all sustain support for Puerto Rico over the long period of time required for full recovery. At a moment when our federal government is failing the people of Puerto Rico, I’m proud our City is setting an example of how New Yorkers offer real care and support for those in need.”

“This administration’s leadership and commitment to serving those impacted by Hurricane Maria have proven vital to the recovery process. We have witnessed an outpour of support for Puerto Rico, and New Yorkers remain eager to contribute essential items and monetary donations. As we advance relief efforts on the island, I am encouraged by the additional staff and resources being deployed by Mayor De Blasio,” Council Member Annabel Palma said. 

“When Puerto Rico asked for help, New Yorkers were among the first to answer the call. I stand with the Mayor in applauding the rapid response and grassroots work throughout the five boroughs. But the relief effort is far from over. New York City will remain on the frontline, and do whatever we can to keep our fellow Americans safe in the wake of this disaster,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

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