Local group helping people in Puerto Rico get clean water - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Local group helping people in Puerto Rico get clean water

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MADISON (WKOW) --- Monday marks two months since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico. And the island is still slowly recovering from the disaster.

Most of the territory lost power and clean water. Thousands have left, but those still living on the island have had to make adjustments to life with little to no power.

Even the supermarkets have had to adjust. The hurricane has cut off supplies, so food has been more scarce since the storm hit.

Food isn't the only thing people in Puerto Rico desperately need. Residents are still struggling to find clean drinking water.

“Children are drinking out of just streams of water from any place they can find it,” said Veronica Figueroa-Velez, moved from Puerto Rico to Madison more than 20 years ago. “It's completely unacceptable that we have completely forgotten about the people of Puerto Rico.”

“With people drinking filtered water and contaminated water. The number of people getting sick by drinking this water and not having hospitals available to take people,” she said.

Figueroa-Velez is part of the group -- Puerto Rico Relief Fund - South Central Wisconsin (PRRF-SCW) -- that's stepping up to help. The organization spending $10,000 to ship water filters to the island.

“These filters are not meant for community centers or anything like that. They're meant for homes, for families,” she said.

She said the mountain communities are the hardest hit areas because the people there are unreachable.

“After the hurricane passed, you have to remember we continued to be exposed to rain, which continued to flood those areas where people weren't able to get out or get to.”

Figueroa-Velez still has family in Puerto Rico. She said now is the time to take action.

“We have people like my parents who will not leave the island and are in major, major health needs. And right now, they can't get the healthcare that they need.”

Figueroa-Velez said the group plans to ship 126 filters to Puerto Rico during the pilot program. If the program is successful, they will invest more money for additional filters

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