Cuomo, National Guard Head to Offer Aid in Puerto Rico

Tags: Currents, Crux, Diocese of Brooklyn, Earthquake, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Natural Disaster, New York State, Puerto Rico, Queens, NY

By Tim Harfmann

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was on his way to Puerto Rico Jan. 14 after a series of earthquakes rocked the island, including one the same day with a magnitude of 4.6.

Cuomo’s led a delegation along with 150 members of the National Guard.

“We’ll make sure that Puerto Rico is not left on its own,” he said.

As the group departed from John F. Kennedy International Airport, some Puerto Ricans were arriving, like Carlos Velazquez who lived through the tremors with his family.

“The whole building was shaking,” he said. “We had to go down like three or four times. The bed shook. My daughter was crying.”

It’s been an emotional period for Catholics in the Brooklyn Diocese, as well.

Alex Ayala, a parishioner at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Astoria, Queens, has been worried about his mother living near Ponce, the quake’s epicenter.

Her parish now celebrates Mass outdoors, afraid the church will collapse.

“She couldn’t sleep last night because thinking about the earthquake, and she’s scared,” Alex explained.

Despite fear, Archbishop of San Juan Roberto Nieves said Jan. 14 that those on the island have faith.

“There is a spirit of trust in the Lord, and I would even suggest that even non-believers have a sense of the spirit,” he told Currents News.

Governor Cuomo promised to help the U.S. territory.

“We’re American citizens. We’re the family of America. They’re our brothers and sisters,” he said.

Governor Cuomo is scheduled to visit Puerto Rico for two days. He vows to “report back” to New Yorkers on how they can help the island.